The US is one of a handful of countries in the world, and the only industrialized country, not to guarantee paid family leave at a national level. Even in the private sector, only about a quarter of US workers have access to it. As a nonpartisan company geared toward millennial women, theSkimm has always covered issues impacting women in the workplace – and paid family leave is no exception. Not only are comprehensive policies imperative in getting women back to work, but they’re also needed in order to help bridge the gap of inequalities that women face. While we’re proud of the extensive paid family leave benefits in place for our own employees, we also knew there was more we could do. theSkimm’s goal: to amplify the issues and challenges parents and caregivers are facing, create transparency and bring about real change in the private sector, and equip our audience with the tools they need to advocate for change within their own companies. That’s where #ShowUsYourLeave came in – a movement designed to expand paid family leave, leader by leader, company by company, and employee by employee so that every American has access to the information and policies they need to support their families.
As it stands now, Paid Family Leave in America is a perk and not a requirement. theSkimm has set out to change that through its #ShowUsYourLeave movement. Last summer, theSkimm’s co-founders and co-CEOs Carly Zakin & Danielle Weisberg sat down with leading businesswomen to talk about what a return to ‘normal’ in the workplace would look like for women during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the months that followed, they recognized there was a far deeper and more urgent conversation to be had. What started out as a candid social post when paid family leave was at risk of being cut from President Biden’s Build Back Better bill has since ignited a meaningful dialogue and evolved into a grassroots movement in partnership with hundreds of businesses.
theSkimm started the #ShowUsYourLeave initiative by asking our audience to share their paid family leave stories using the #ShowUsYourLeave hashtag. Hundreds of Skimm’rs started to share their personal stories – some painting a picture about how devastating the lack of paid family leave has been, and others feeling empowered to speak to HR and advocate for change at their own companies. And the conversation has only become more pressing – not just because of the outpouring of interest, but we’re also in a time when women are being forced to leave the workplace in record numbers, and job expectations and benefits packages look far different than they did pre-pandemic.
When theSkimm’s #ShowUsYourLeave movement kicked off, it was up to the individual to ask a potential or current employer about their policies and benefits packages. In an effort to take that burden off of the individual and shift it to the businesses to be transparent about what they offer, we openly shared theSkimm’s paid family leave policy on social media and asked other businesses to do the same. We implemented a grassroots effort to bring other companies in – we tapped into our personal and professional networks, direct messaged company accounts on Instagram and LinkedIn, and highlighted the companies who did share their policies on social media to put pressure on others to do the same. We encouraged these organizations to join us in this initiative and provided them with the resources to post their own policies. The campaign has proven to transcend industries and company size, with more than 400 companies joining to date, and has quickly gained momentum across social media, opening up a greater discussion on why paid family leave is crucial for parents and caregivers.
Over the last several months, theSkimm has continued to highlight community stories and company policies and provide advice and guidance to help its audience of millions of millennial women to take action. Carly and Danielle published an op-ed around parenthood in America, and we launched a Paid Family Leave microsite, which includes our handraiser petition, in support of more expansive paid family leave and provides resources to pitch policy changes in the workplace.
Within just a few weeks, the #ShowUsYourLeave movement has become far more than a viral hashtag. It has inspired a complete shift in transparency in the private sector with companies stepping up and individuals speaking out.
More than 400 companies have shared their paid family leave policies, including Pinterest, Nestle, Estée Lauder, General Motors, Gerber, Reddit, American Express, Bank of America, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Zillow, Snap Inc., DoorDash, Adobe, Care.com, Hilton, Lyft, Goldman Sachs, Intel, Lionsgate, and IKEA, with more joining every day. #ShowUsYourLeave “is taking over LinkedIn feeds,” according to Forbes, and continues to grow weekly, with over 84.2 million total social impressions. Inc.com has even called the response “dizzying.”
theSkimm’s microsite features everything from audience insights, to a news guide on where paid family leave stands in the US today, theSkimm’s own benefits policy, a hand raiser petition (with more than 31k signatures), social assets, and more. Hundreds of Skimm’rs have sent in personal stories, ranging from unthinkable scenarios to workplace wins and changed policy. One empowered Skimm’r even shared a proposal deck she created in an effort to request improved paid family leave at her own company – hoping it could serve as a resource for others. The downloadable template deck can be found on our microsite.
#ShowUsYourLeave continues to make waves and we’re proud of the conversations that are now happening to advocate for and create change around a crucial cause that affects so many Americans.
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