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"People-First" Means Not Having to Pick Between Work and Your Life

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"People-First" Means Not Having to Pick Between Work and Your Life
People-first Access with an illustration of a diverse group of families

Your family members are the most important people in your life. And when the time comes to welcome your new one, we know you need space to recover, bond, and adjust. That’s why strongDM is proud to share a new family leave policy that puts people first.

We Need Policies That Put People First

When I joined strongDM, I was pregnant. And while I felt super supported coming here, taking a three-month leave was still scary! And when I came back, it was full steam ahead. 

The transition was difficult, but the timing was perfect. My return coincided with Tim Prendergast becoming our new CEO, and one of the first things he wanted to do was upgrade our benefits, which was really, really exciting. 

We had a whole group of people (like me) just returning from family leave, including recent new hires who took parental leave at other companies. I started interviewing them as a kind of baseline, and it became clear that our parental leave policy was really lagging behind our other benefits. 

Tim encouraged the People team to really push the limits with our new policies, so we started researching what was possible. 


theSkimm's fantastic social media campaign (#ShowUsYourLeave) was a huge help. It encourages businesses to make their family leave policies more transparent, and I started collecting all the information I could about what different companies were offering. 

Providing equal amounts of time for both birthing parents and non-birthing parents was really important to us because paid family leave benefits employees, families, and businesses alike. Of the 200 tech companies I analyzed, the average policy offered 15 weeks of paid maternity leave and 9.9 weeks of paternal/secondary. We knew we could do better.

We also wanted our policies to meet or exceed state requirements. strongDM is a distributed company, with employees spread across the country (and world), and the disparities between different states’ benefits created an imbalance for our staff. 

We wanted to make sure that our company policy was greater than that of the most generous states to ensure equal amounts of time off for everyone. Other parts of the world mandate six-plus months of parental leave. We thought–if they can figure it out, so can we. 

24 Weeks for You and Your New Bundle of Joy

I’m proud to say, we did it! strongDM’s new People-First family leave policy includes: 

Time to bond, recover, and adjust 

We now offer 24 weeks of paid time off following birth, adoption, or foster placement, plus a 4-week part-time ramp back at full pay to ease the transition back to work. 

The ramp-back is something we’re especially proud of. As one of the returning employees told me, “had I been able to do a part-time basis I would have. Part of me was eager to come back, to have adult conversations again. If I could have the best of both worlds I would have.” 

$1,500 per month childcare stipend

Childcare is really expensive and often really hard to find–that was something we heard over and over again. 

We have folks all over the country, so we couldn't do something location-based. Instead, we’re offering a $1,500 per month childcare stipend during the child’s first year with you. Whether it’s used to pay for daycare or offset the cost of in-home assistance, we didn't want folks to have difficult childcare decisions weighing on them. 

Time off for pregnancy loss

This was something that Erin Dertouzos, VP of People Strategy, and I both felt strongly about. So many pregnancies end in loss, and folks are too often stuck taking sick time or requesting leave. We want people to be able to take the time that they need.

At strongDM, “People-First” means enabling our staff to put their people first. As Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, says in her new book Pay Up, “It’s time to channel our ambition towards a different future of work – one where workplaces don’t just accommodate what happens at home, but through policy and practice, actually begin to value it.” We couldn’t agree more.

Interested in joining strongDM? Check out our latest job openings.

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