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Taking Time: Parental Leave Policy and Corporate Culture (Women in Politics)

Taking Time: Parental Leave Policy and Corporate Culture (Women in Politics)

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There is a growing movement among corporations to provide family benefits in order to attract and retain women workers. They recognize that these benefits have become a cost of doing business. Many of these benefits, like child-care and elder care, are aimed at supporting employees' ability to stay on the job. Parental leave policies are an exception, because they involve taking time away from the job.

This timely book provides an inside look at life in a major U.S. corporation, focusing on the impact of workplace culture on the use of parental leave and those who use it. Fried begins by describing why parental leave is critical to making parenting the job of both parents in two-parent families. She examines the varied experiences of different levels of workers in how parental leave policy is used.

The author tells a rich and textured tale of day-to-day life in the skyscraper offices of a large corporation. How people dress, what their offices look like, which cafeteria they eat in, how the supervisors and supervised talk-all these things are part of the fabric of corporate culture that Fried describes.

Most of us live in work cultures that value overtime. Fried argues that, as a "time policy" parental leave clashes with the powerful norm that corporate employees must work long and hard. Taking time for parenting-a job that is devalued in our culture-may be perceived as "taking time away" from the company, and, in particular, from the company's productivity.