The United States doesn’t mandate vacation time, sick leave, or any type of leave. We seem to prefer leaving that up to individual companies, which leads to workers getting screwed. Then we have companies like Netflix, which are trying to step up and change corporate culture in regards to things like maternity leave, but whether that’s actually effective remains to be seen. Some small businesses are trying their best to follow examples like Netflix, but can’t quite afford the unlimited maternity leave that Netflix is offering. One of them has developed its own plan for expectant mothers that’s both unique, and a breath of fresh air.
Domo, a smallish company out in Utah, is offering its expectant mothers a $2,000 gift card with which to buy maternity clothes. Why? According to Fortune, Domo’s CEO, Josh James, realized that women face significant challenges with maintaining a professional look when they’re pregnant, because let’s face it, clothes are not cheap. Many women are stuck wearing two or three outfits each week at work while they’re pregnant because they can’t afford an entire wardrobe of maternity clothes.
That can lead to all sorts of problems, ranging from customers noticing the lack of wardrobe choices to self-consciousness, which can hurt performance. One employee, Erica Bartsch, began hoping that nobody noticed she was wearing the same clothes every day towards the end of her first pregnancy. She had exactly two pairs of maternity pants and six suitable tops through which she rotated during that pregnancy.
Thanks to the new maternity benefit at Domo, Erica’s experience during her second pregnancy was quite different.
This is one way Domo is helping women who get pregnant, rather than punishing them for it. Here in the U.S., women are punished in the workplace just because they might get pregnant. Women make up nearly half the U.S. workforce, and yet, motherhood hangs over their careers like a dark cloud. Society expects women to bear children, and at the same time, society punishes us for it.
Increasingly, women are having children during their peak earning years. That means they’re taking a serious hit in their careers when those careers should be at their highest, because women’s earnings tend to decrease four percent for every child they have. These days, women are crucial to the financial stability of their families, and this kind of punishment hurts entire families.
Equal pay will help, as would ensuring that women returning from maternity leave still have their jobs and their same pay. While offering unlimited, paid maternity leave is out of reach for some companies, Domo does offer some paid maternity leave as well as a parental bonus. Having a child is expensive enough. Since having a good wardrobe is such a necessity for many jobs, Domo is ensuring that this is one way in which pregnant women do not get punished for having children.
Domo’s workforce is younger, with their employees averaging about 34 years of age right now. Fifteen percent of working women are having their first child when they’re at least 35, which can translate to problems for Domo’s workforce. They could have chosen to ignore it, or to do what society dictates and treat their pregnant women as though they’re less valuable as employees. They didn’t.
We need more companies that think like Domo.
Featured image by rmt. Licensed under Public Domain via Pixabay