May 18, 2020 - Technology

Tech firms pledge to support working parents during coronavirus crisis

A flyer with a photo of a family asking people to sign a pledge.

Photo: Cleo

A coalition of tech companies has signed a pledge to find ways to support working parents at their firms through the coronavirus crisis, thereby setting examples for other employers.

Why it matters: Many parents face the taxing challenge of having to homeschool their kids while also working from home during the pandemic.

Details: The "Invest in Parents" initiative involves several nonprofits and is being coordinated by Cleo, a startup that provides services to new parents as an employer-paid benefit, along with several nonprofits.

  • Organizers of the pledge include PL+US, Happiest Baby, and The Mom Project.
  • The coalition includes Salesforce, Uber, Snap, Box, Pinterest, Niantic and Zoom.
  • Other signatories include PepsiCo, Okta, Pure Storage, UrbanSitter, Winnie, Cloudflare, The Wing, Cora, and the Detox Market as well as VC firms GV, NEA and Greylock.

What's happening: "Working parents aren't OK," Cleo CEO Sarahjane Sacchetti tells Axios.

  • The effort is designed to build pressure among companies to provide resources and support for both parents and their managers.
  • In a survey, 20% of parents say they or their partner are considering leaving the workforce over childcare concerns, while many others are considering moving closer to family. Roughly half of parents said they had no childcare.
  • Early reports also suggest the burden is falling heaviest on women, threatening to reverse gains made in recent years by the tech industry.

"Working mothers are being pushed even further to the brink," Sacchetti adds. "We don’t want to see diversity and inclusion fall apart."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version that listed Slack as one of the companies signing the working parents pledge.

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