Tech employees without kids are upset over additional benefits offered to parents

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,163   +132
Staff member
The big picture: Similar debates have reportedly taken place at Twitter, and no doubt at countless other companies across the country and around the globe. And really, it’s not a new issue for employees and employers, but rather, one that has simply intensified as a result of the pandemic.

The tech sector has been on the front line of the fight against Covid-19 since the very beginning. Industry officials were among the first to cancel major tech conferences and when things took a turn for the worse, large tech firms led the way in the work from home movement.

When schools and daycares shut down and parents were offered additional benefits to help care for their children, nonparents started speaking up.

As The New York Times recounts, Facebook in March extended up to 10 weeks of paid time off to employees with kids whose school or daycare facility had closed due to the pandemic. Microsoft, Google and others quickly followed suit with similar incentives for parents.

Facebook went a step further, revoking employee performance reviews for the first half of 2020 and giving everyone the top tier bonus for the period.

Some viewed the moves as a show of support during a time of need, but others questioned if the additional incentives represented preferential treatment to those with children. Is it fair that parents are receiving extra benefits that aren’t available to nonparents?

Three anonymous Facebook staff members told The Times that managers have had to moderate discussions on internal forums singling out some employees with children for not contributing or pulling their weight.

When the issue was brought up during a company-wide videoconferencing session with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on August 20, she reportedly “disagreed with the premise of the question” that the performance rating freeze and leave policy was primarily benefiting parents. When more than a thousand employees pressed her to answer the question again, she did, noting that Facebook tries to make its leave policy inclusive for all.

“I do believe parents have certain challenges,” Sandberg said. “But everyone has challenges, and those challenges are very, very real.”

Image credit: Sharomka, StunningArt

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Endymio

Posts: 1,334   +1,216
>> " she reportedly “disagreed with the premise of the question” that the performance rating freeze and leave policy was primarily benefiting parents...."

How is awarding everyone the highest possible rating more beneficial to parents than others?

In any case, what is wrong with an employer giving preferential treatment to parents? Without parents, we have no children, and without children we have no future society.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,347   +2,622
TechSpot Elite
Honestly, it just sounds like selfish people looking to complain. It's not like the parents have it easy, they're given grace for good reason (assuming they're not taking advantage of it).

I swear, this pandemic is showing just how crazy people really are (more than these last few years have).
 

bviktor

Posts: 400   +709
>> " she reportedly “disagreed with the premise of the question” that the performance rating freeze and leave policy was primarily benefiting parents...."

How is awarding everyone the highest possible rating more beneficial to parents than others?

In any case, what is wrong with an employer giving preferential treatment to parents? Without parents, we have no children, and without children we have no future society.

That's an odd comment given that pretty much all current problems this planet has boils down to overpopulation.
 

Jroc187

Posts: 51   +32
>> " she reportedly “disagreed with the premise of the question” that the performance rating freeze and leave policy was primarily benefiting parents...."

How is awarding everyone the highest possible rating more beneficial to parents than others?

In any case, what is wrong with an employer giving preferential treatment to parents? Without parents, we have no children, and without children we have no future society.
The people with kids tend to need more time off than those that don't. if you miss work because you had no daycare that day or week then your performance numbers would suffer. The workers without kids tend to spend more time at work and should {in theory} be entitled to more compensation come bonus time. But the employer says that everyone will be treated the same no matter how much time they miss or hard they worked the past year. not that hard to understand.
 

TomSEA

Posts: 3,320   +2,068
I tend to side with the group thinking parents get extra breaks. Having no kids myself, I tire of having to support families. Not only covering for them at work when they take their near non-stop family work leaves but paying extra taxes or seeing my tax money funding family-only facilities and programs.

I get that we need families and children to keep the country going and am willing to contribute my fair share to maintain that. But lately, it seems my fair share contribution is leaning towards the unfair side.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,334   +1,216
That's an odd comment given that pretty much all current problems this planet has boils down to overpopulation.
It's not 1968 and the days of Soylent Green and ZPG any longer; those ideas have been long debunked. A large number of industrialized nations are not even having enough children to maintain their population. This is an issue that, if not addressed, will cause quickly cause economic and societal collapse.

The employer says that everyone will be treated the same no matter how much time they miss or hard they worked the past year. not that hard to understand.
I emphasized the relevant portion. Treating everyone the same is, by definition, the antithesis of preferential treatment. If you don't have children and wish to take as much time off as one or more parents in your division, this policy allows you to do so, no?
 

fps4ever

Posts: 668   +875
I emphasized the relevant portion. Treating everyone the same is, by definition, the antithesis of preferential treatment. If you don't have children and wish to take as much time off as one or more parents in your division, this policy allows you to do so, no?

No, that is not what I read. How did you come by that assertion?
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,334   +1,216
No, that is not what I read. How did you come by that assertion?
In that, I was really replying to the previous post asserting as much. In the original article, it seems that both parents and nonparents are benefitting equally from the rating policy, but parents are the only ones who get the additional leave.

I still don't see the issue. Not only is parenting to be encouraged in general, but contrast this with a policy that grants extended sick leave for extreme illness. If you're in good health, you're not getting that extra benefit -- but does that mean the benefit itself is wrong?
 

NicktheWVAHick

Posts: 266   +352
Welcome to Socialism. I’m still waiting to get a refund on the portion of my taxes that are used to fund the public education that we never used. Defense spending, sure. Social security, sure. Medicare, sure. Public education, I think not.
 

fps4ever

Posts: 668   +875
In that, I was really replying to the previous post asserting as much. In the original article, it seems that both parents and nonparents are benefitting equally from the rating policy, but parents are the only ones who get the additional leave.

I still don't see the issue. Not only is parenting to be encouraged in general, but contrast this with a policy that grants extended sick leave for extreme illness. If you're in good health, you're not getting that extra benefit -- but does that mean the benefit itself is wrong?

The problem is you don't see the actual issue and then you made an assumption that was wrong. Single people are not asking to take anything away from parents, just the contrary. Not going to argue with someone that has their mind made up.
 

wujj123456

Posts: 53   +25
TechSpot Elite
I don't know where you get this "the top tier bonus" misinformation. It has never even rumored to be top-tier AFAIK. https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebo...and-good-reviews-amid-coronavirus-11584464623

"Exceeds Expectations" is one level above standard "Meets All", and there are three levels above "Meets All" in total. If you factor in the non-linear bonus and equity multiplier for the higher ratings, that's a big reduction for high performers. Promotion was also stopped. It's far from a satisfying answer for many people, rather a compromised one to give people some breathing period to rearrange their life due to pandemic.
 

wujj123456

Posts: 53   +25
TechSpot Elite
I get that we need families and children to keep the country going and am willing to contribute my fair share to maintain that. But lately, it seems my fair share contribution is leaning towards the unfair side.
I am not sure it has reached unfair side yet. AFAIK, the most generous parental leave is a year (Netflix). Then the parents will be dealing with the kid for years. Even if they also get a couple of more weeks off every year afterwards, so what?

I don't have a kid and I don't think I will ever have one because it's just too much of a headache to even think about it. Guess what that means? Once I retire, I will be leeching their kids for however long I remain alive. That's true no matter how rich one is. Without productivity, money is worth nothing and productivity is provided by the working force, which are other people's kids that I was not responsible for.

That's the argument for giving parents preferential treatment. However, in this case, I am not even sure it's that preferential beyond this past half when everyone gets rated same. Paid leaves are not really free in merit-based performance review. Performance is still assessed based on work done. You can take as much leave as you want, but if less work gets done and your rating goes down by one, that bonus and equity is going to cost you a couple of weeks to months worth of salary. Taking too many weeks in a half also directly defaults one's performance rating to the lowest passable level for that half.

That's why even with all these generous policy, my colleague parents are still working as hard as they can, rarely taking days off unless they have to. If you think just because parents can take more leaves means most parents take full advantage of that, you are probably thinking about a retirement job, not the highly competitive environment like tech industry. Many of the "generous" policies in tech are just there to retain parents who might otherwise quit their job to take care of family. Such quitting would be a lose-lose situation for company, parents and colleagues.
 
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Irata

Posts: 1,434   +2,315
I tend to side with the group thinking parents get extra breaks. Having no kids myself, I tire of having to support families. Not only covering for them at work when they take their near non-stop family work leaves but paying extra taxes or seeing my tax money funding family-only facilities and programs.

I get that we need families and children to keep the country going and am willing to contribute my fair share to maintain that. But lately, it seems my fair share contribution is leaning towards the unfair side.

You may think differently once others‘ kids wipe your butt once you get old or contribute to public services you may need or even earlier buy products your employer makes.
 

treetops

Posts: 3,064   +784
I shouldn't have to pay for schools, I don't have kids, yeah but you were a kid right? It's not all about you, you are no longer a kid.
 

bexwhitt

Posts: 534   +218
People with kids always get more than they give, there really is enough of us on this planet, it's about time we stopped subsidising breeders.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,334   +1,216
there really is enough of us on this planet
I think you'll have difficulty defining "enough" in this context. For one, our current social safety-net models depend on an increasing population. If you want social security when you're old, the population must increase from current levels.

But there's more to it than that. A larger population is a net positive. More people equates to more scientists researching new discoveries, new cures for diseases, more efficient ways to do things, new labor-saving devices to improve your standard of living. It also means more authors and screenwriters writing more books and film scripts for your enjoyment, more athletes giving you more choices in sports entertainment, more, in short, of everything good. And, through increasing technology and larger economies of scale-- less of everything bad. Doomsayer predictions about resource shortages don't hold water; we have the ability to support a far larger population than we have today.

Our current style of live would not be possible on a planet with only a billion or two people on it. It exists only because of population increase. What more can we accomplish on a planet with 15 or 20 billion individuals all working together?
 

dirtyferret

Posts: 679   +860
So the people's parents got extra breaks so they could take their kids to the doctor, dentist, stay home with them when sick, etc., and then went on to attend public schools and universities don't want other parents to have the same privilege or pay school taxes?
 

Vanderkaum037

Posts: 18   +18
It's not 1968 and the days of Soylent Green and ZPG any longer; those ideas have been long debunked. A large number of industrialized nations are not even having enough children to maintain their population. This is an issue that, if not addressed, will cause quickly cause economic and societal collapse.

I emphasized the relevant portion. Treating everyone the same is, by definition, the antithesis of preferential treatment. If you don't have children and wish to take as much time off as one or more parents in your division, this policy allows you to do so, no?

It really hasn't caused economic and societal collapse anywhere, let alone quickly. It just trims 1 or 2% off the GDP growth rate. It's not a big deal at all. Parents are not entitled to special benefits over their coworkers without children. I already pay for schools with my taxes.
 

Xallisto

Posts: 126   +130
Covering for them at work when they take their near non-stop family work leaves

Absolutely agreed, this always bothered me. I always felt like I was being punished and made to work the tougher harder shifts because other folks had chosen to have kids.

Folks should not be punished for not having kids, if someone has kids that's their problem.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,334   +1,216
It really hasn't caused economic and societal collapse anywhere, let alone quickly....It's not a big deal at all.
That's like saying punctured carotid arteries aren't dangerous, because you survived the first half-second of bleeding. In societal terms, "quickly" is any interval less than a century. But in nations like Japan, where the rate of population decline is much faster, problems are surfacing already; for the first time in its history, the country is having to import large numbers of foreign workers, and is being forced to use robots to combat labor shortages even in places as unlikely as Buddhist temples.

Japan lost half a million people last year alone. Using a second-order extrapolation of the currently declining fertility rate, the population will decline from 126 million people down to below 50 million in 40 years, at which point it will consist almost entirely of the elderly.