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Twitter offers 20 weeks paid leave for all new parents

Dads and adopting parents now get the same benefits as birth mothers.

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Twitter is joining social network rival Facebook by offering 20 weeks of gender-neutral parental leave starting May 1st. The company told Fortune it made the move both to set an example and assure adopting and birth parent employees ample time to bond with their new offspring. "We're a very watched industry because of the products and services we offer," says VP of inclusion and diversity Jeffrey Siminoff. "We want to lead by example and by doing so we can influence the decisions of others."

Twitter already offers 20 weeks of paid leave to birth mothers, but just 10 weeks to fathers and adopting parents. The company equalized the policy to ensure that parents, especially fathers, don't feel pressured to keep working after having a baby or adopting. To reduce impact on workloads and teams, the company is training managers on why the leave is important and how to deal with workloads and other issues. "Education is critical," says director of compensation and benefits, Laura Brady.

We want to lead by example and by doing so we can influence the decisions of others.

Twitter aims to increase the number of women in its workforce to 35 percent in 2016 (up from 34 percent), and a more generous parental leave program may help. That stat is ahead of tech rivals like Facebook and Google, which employ 32 and 30 percent of women, respectively. However, like other other tech companies, Twitter needs to seriously bolster the total number of women in tech jobs and, particularly, the executive suite.

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