Facebook wants to give its employees around the world four months of parental leave. To German ears that sounds perfectly normal, but for Americans, it's still unheard of.
Facebook has already been around for 11 years, so it's easy to forget that its CEO Mark Zuckerberg is only 31. Like many of his peers, Zuckerberg will soon become a father for the first time and has therefore announced his intention to take two months of parental leave after his daughter is born. To German ears that sounds perfectly normal in these times of "Elterngeld" (parental allowance), but for Americans it's still unheard of.
Given that Zuckerberg is about to be a father, it's only logical that he has now extended parental leave in his company. All parents around the world are to continue receiving their full salaries for four months after the birth or adoption of their child, regardless of gender.
Of course, there is a solid economic rationale for the new equality à la Facebook. On the one hand, the social network is competing with a growing number of Internet companies and IT specialists — and they still tend to be predominantly male. On the other hand, like their boss, Facebook's male employees are long past their early or mid-20s and, like Zuckerberg, may soon be about to become fathers themselves. The improved possibility for men to be involved with their families is necessary if Facebook wants to keep fathers among its employees.