Oh baby! How Spaceship approaches parental leave

Patrick Wiseman
CEO and Founder

At Spaceship, we’re all about helping companies succeed through adopting continuous delivery. But we also recognize that’s only one part of a company’s success. One of the most important ingredients to success at any company is recruiting and keeping talented employees, and we believe that’s especially the case when we look internally.

That’s why, as we start to build out our team, one of the most important elements we wanted to think through was how we support and empower our people. We believe this support should extend beyond the walls of the “office” to recognize everything that goes on in our team members’ lives. This ethos applies especially to life’s big events, like having a baby.

When we sat down to develop our parental leave policy, we uncovered a lot about how we want to build the culture at Spaceship, and that’s what we want to share today.

See the policy.

Important considerations in developing our parental leave policy

The primary goal of our parental leave policy is to give families time to bond with their new children, no matter how that comes to be – pregnancy, adoption, surrogacy or anything else. Importantly, we wanted to provide the same policy for parents, regardless of gender, with additional medical leave for any parent physically giving birth.

As we thought through all of this, we also recognized the importance of flexibility and support through what can often be a very winding road that looks different for every family. This included flexibility around when parents can take leave (e.g. in the case of pregnancy complications) as well as flexibility in cases of miscarriage. We also wanted to support families through processes like in vitro fertilization, surrogacy and adoption.

Where we landed: a look inside our parental leave policy

This mindset helped us develop a parental leave policy that we believe supports new parents and their families both at work and at home. Here’s a look inside some of the key elements of this plan:

Taking leave to spend time with family

First, we offer 10 weeks parental leave, fully paid for any new parent, regardless of gender. We also offer six weeks of additional medical leave for the birthing parent, fully paid with short-term disability. This medical leave also covers pregnancy complications and miscarriages. When this leave is over, we offer five weeks of a back-to-work transition plan with a Newborn Care Specialist (NCS) five days a week, also fully paid.

Our goal in this is to make sure new parents have the time they need to bond with their new family members and take care of themselves. All of this is important to making sure our people feel they can properly care for and support their families so they can also bring their best selves to the Spaceship team.

Making time with family meaningful

We don’t want to give our people leave to spend time with their families for the sake of it – we want to make sure they can make that time together as meaningful as possible. That’s why we decided to give new parents a stipend for 16 weeks of a cleaning service (because time spent cleaning is time spent away from family) and a one year diaper subscription.

Not sacrificing progress at work for changes at home

Far too often, we’ve seen the changes at home affect progress at work for new parents, and we don’t want to create that type of environment at Spaceship. Once again, this speaks to making sure new parents can focus on their family and make the time at home meaningful.

As a result, all equity will continue to vest and PTO will continue to accrue during parental leave. Additionally, managers will have their role filled with a contract employee for the duration of their leave. This avoids a situation in which someone gets promoted from within and leads to a demotion of either that person or their manager upon the manager’s return.

Caring for families of all kinds, at all times

Parental leave policies typically focus on the time immediately after a new baby comes into the family for good reason, but the responsibilities of being a parent extend well beyond those first few months. At Spaceship, we want to provide this longer-term support.

In pursuit of this goal, we decided to offer new parents an additional six days of paid leave (because any parent knows to expect the unexpected) as well as HSA contributions to the family plan maximum to support everyone’s health. Importantly, these HSA contributions are payable in advance for IVF treatments.

Recognizing that being a parent is a 24/7 job

Finally, we recognize that being a parent is a 24/7 job, and even when new parents are back at work, they still have important responsibilities at home. That’s why we’ve committed to ensuring that any future offices and offsite facilities will include accommodations for pumping breast milk and any business requiring travel will also cover accommodations to ship breast milk.

Building a successful business starts with our people

We are deeply committed to helping companies succeed, and when it comes to our own business we believe that starts with our people. For Spaceship, a big part of that is taking care of our team and their families, and we’re proud to have developed a parental leave policy that accomplishes that goal.

Interested in learning more? Visit our Careers page to learn more about our team and see open roles.

Interested in stealing this policy? Please do.

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