Why People Are Freaking Out Over Yahoo’s CEO Taking Such a Short Maternity Leave

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Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer has recently been under fire for her decision to take a short maternity leave following the expected births of her twin daughters later this year.

The soon-to-be mother of three announced on Tumblr, which is owned by Yahoo, that she will be taking as little as two weeks of maternity leave and will be “working throughout” the duration of her time off, according to The Guardian. Mayer wrote on Tumblr:

“Since my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated and since this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation, I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout.”

Mayer’s decision is being criticized as setting a poor example for her employees. A few weeks ago, Toms shoes CEO Blake Mycoskie announced his decision to take full-time paternity leave to encourage his workers to seek a work-life balance.

This isn’t the first time Mayer has been put under the spotlight for issues relating to working mothers since she began working at the company — Mayer was also pregnant when she was hired by Yahoo back in 2012 to help the struggling company get back up on its feet. As a new chief executive, Mayer only took two weeks of paid maternity leave after her son was born in September 2012 and was quickly followed by a new company mandate that prohibited employees from working from home.

Three months after banning telecommuting, Mayer declared that Yahoo was offering more generous maternity benefits. Yahoo now offers new mothers 16 weeks of paid time off instead of the original eight weeks. New fathers are given eight weeks of paid paternity leave. The company also provides new parents eight weeks time off for fostering, adoption or surrogacy.

Mayer reveals that Yahoo’s board of directors and executive team were “incredibly supportive and happy for me” after hearing the news. The company’s stock price fell shortly after her announcement.

Anne Weisberg, senior vice-president of the Families and Work Institute in New York, finds Mayer’s decision disappointing. She told The Guardian:

“She’s a role model and I think she should take whatever Yahoo’s parental leave is- the mark of a great leader is that they have a strong team and don’t need to be there all the time themselves. And she’s having twins-just physically that’s a big deal.

“She must know it’s not just a personal choice. I gave her a pass when she just arrived at Yahoo and then took little maternity leave, but now she does not have to prove herself as a CEO; the company is no longer in transition – but now people will read from this that if you want to be a leader you cannot do what your company even allows you to do, you’ve got to be there all the time and it’s work above everything else.”

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