Google Tries to Find Ways to Keep More Women Employees

September 25, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. maternity (adj.)
[muh-tur-ni-tee] – relating to pregnancy, childbirth and the first months of being a mother
Example: She bought maternity dresses after the doctor told her she was pregnant.

2. rate (n.) [reyt] – the number of times something happens or repeats over a specific time period
Example: Stricter laws have helped reduce the crime rate in the city.  

3. attrition (n.) [uh-trish-uhn] – a decrease in number of employees because of their resignation, retirement or death
ExampleAttrition decreased in the company when employee salary was increased.

4. partial (adj.) [pahr-shuhl] – not complete; referring to only a part of a whole
Example: The employee requested for a partial pay to cover up his families expenses.

5. cut back (phrasal verb) [kuht bak] – to reduce or decrease
Example: They cut back their production because of decreasing demand.

Read the text below.
After studying data about their employees, Google learned that most of the women who left their company were women who recently gave birth. The company seems to have found a solution to this problem--longer maternity leave and full pay during such leave.

According to the New York Times article “In Google’s Inner Circle, A Falling Number of Women,” the rate of attrition for women who had just given birth was twice that of other employees.

But by lengthening the allowable maternity leave from three months to five months, and by changing the women’s leave pay from partial to full, Google was able to decrease attrition by fifty percent.

Increasing mothers’ extra paid leave after their giving birth may help these women find a way to balance their time between home and work. This would also lessen their chance of quitting.

However, according to the Families and Work Institute, giving full pay to women during maternity leave is not possible for some employers who are cutting back on leave benefits. Statistics show that 58% of employers give leave pay for new mothers, but only 5% give full pay.

It is still uncertain whether more companies in the US will adopt Google’s solution to prevent women from leaving their jobs.  The US is the only high-income country that does not have laws requiring employers to provide leaves for parents. The standards are still a long way from those of countries like Sweden, which offers new mothers more than a year of paid maternity leave.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think the solution provided by Google is acceptable? Why or why not?
·         Should mothers and fathers be allowed to take more time off work when they have a new baby? What makes you say so?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are acceptable reasons for employees to quit their jobs?
·         What do you think employers should do to prevent more workers, especially women, from quitting their jobs?

September 25, 2012