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Twitter’s new CEO is taking ‘a few weeks’ of parental leave and should feel free to take even more

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Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal plans to take “a few weeks” of paternity leave for the birth of his second child, the company confirmed Wednesday. First reported by The Washington Post, Agrawal announced he was taking the leave at a company all-hands meeting last week, although he apparently will take less than the full 20 weeks that Twitter provides.

“At Twitter, we encourage and fully support employees taking parental leave in whatever way works best for each person,” Laura Yagerman, head of corporate communications at Twitter, said in a statement emailed to The Verge. “It’s a personal decision, and we created a parental leave program (supporting up to 20 weeks of flexible leave) that is customizable for that reason.” She added that Agrawal, who is the executive sponsor of Twitter’s internal parents’ community, plans to be “connected” with the company’s executive team during his leave.

Agrawal has been in the top job at Twitter since November when co-founder Jack Dorsey resigned. The Post reports he has not named an interim CEO to handle the day-to-day while he is out.

While many (but not all) private companies offer at least some paid leave for new parents, and several states have paid parental leave policies, the United States continues to be the largest country in the world that does not have a national paid parental leave policy. According to the most recent data from the World Policy Analysis Center, the average paid maternity leave around the world is 29 weeks, and the average paid paternity leave is 16 weeks.

Among tech companies, several high-profile founders and CEOs have made a point of taking the paternal leave their companies provide. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook parent company Meta, took two months of paternal leave after the births of his daughters in 2015 and 2017. And Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian took 16 weeks of paternity leave in 2017 when his wife, tennis star Serena Williams, gave birth to their daughter. He spoke out against the stigma attached to men taking their full paternity leave in a New York Times op-ed: “…dads, let me be your air cover. I took my full 16 weeks and I’m still ambitious and care about my career. Talk to your bosses and tell them I sent you.”

Research shows that a national paid leave policy in the US would have a plethora of benefits for children and families, but fathers actually taking the leave they’re entitled to can still draw raised eyebrows and snide comments. US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg took paternity leave when he and his husband, Chasten, welcomed their newborn twins last year and was predictably attacked for doing so. Just to confirm: even though it’s called “leave,” taking care of small babies is a lot of work, whether or not you gave birth to the small babies in question.

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