They changed the company maternity policy 3 months before I was due

I don’t know if this counts as being screwed compared to other women, but it’s infuriating nonetheless. I work for a startup company and have been here for just over a year. I’m due with my second baby in just under three months. The written policy for parental leave for my company, which advertises itself as incredibly progressive and family-oriented, is six weeks’s paid leave for new fathers, and twelve weeks’ paid leave for new mothers. I was ELATED by this policy and so my husband and I felt comfortable with the choice to expand our family. When I was 5 1/2 months pregnant, a co-worker whose wife was near the end of her pregnancy told me that the parental leave for fathers was changing from six weeks paid down to two weeks, but he was made aware of that change before he accepted his full-time position. Several male co-workers had recently taken the six weeks’ paid leave before they changed it. I emailed our HR Director (literally the only HR staff member) to discuss this with her as I wanted to make sure maternity leave wasn’t changing. TO MY FACE she told me it was not changing, and I was elated. Then, six weeks later, she pulled me aside to tell me that the maternity leave policy was changing, per the CEO’s instructions, from twelve weeks to eight weeks with a four week part-time period. I realize that this is far more than most women get, and so I should feel lucky, but truthfully I feel devastated. I was guaranteed twelve weeks’ paid leave, and made the decision to get pregnant when I did largely based on that. And it’s still in writing that fathers get six weeks paid and mothers get twelve weeks paid. How could they do this to me less than three months before my due date? And how could they do this after I was promised by the HR director that it wasn’t going to change?

My manager, who is wonderful, went to the CEO who told him “I just feel like twelve weeks is a really long time.” Well you should have thought about that before you promised it to your employees! And I would be the first woman taking maternity leave for this company. So before any woman has had the chance to take the full maternity leave, they yank it back. Plus, the CEO’s wife is a stay-at-home mom, so this is not something he ever has to consider. His family is privileged enough to have a stay-at-home parent, so paid leave doesn’t affect him. The company I work for is a tech startup, and we talk all the time about how to attract women to the field and show that we’re very woman-friendly. This isn’t exactly the way to show it…

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