Advocating for paid parental leave in the aerospace industry

Jenna Vassallo
Nov 15, 2023
Person works on a laptop in a laboratory

Companies in the aerospace industry are not historically known for their generous paid parental leave policies.

The industry also sees a lot of skilled employees leave after having children: 43% of women and 23% of men drop out of STEM careers within four to seven years of having their first child.

The lack of paid parental leave is likely a key factor pushing new parent employees into part-time roles or different career paths that offer more flexible and supportive work environments, which comes at a massive cost:

  • Without progressive parental leave policies, aerospace companies may lose out on highly educated, sought-after talent in highly competitive fields
  • They then have to rehire, retrain and replace these skilled employees, wasting money and time that could’ve been spent on innovation

After Emily Calandrelli – an MIT-engineer turned Emmy-nominated science TV host – came to us about how to change this, we worked together using our template to make the business case for extended parental leave in the aerospace industry.

In a recent interview with Emily, we discussed the impact minimal paid parental leave has on the aerospace industry and how she used her platform to make a difference.

A tweet and a template catalyzes change

Emily has an impressive following across social channels – including X, where she got curious and tweeted to ask others working in the aerospace industry about their company’s parental leave policy.

“The numbers started coming in, and it was like four weeks, two weeks… ZERO 100% paid weeks off. The 100% paid-off aspect of parental leave was something that I cared a lot about,” she said.

After crowdsourcing policies for several companies in the industry, Emily realized there were a few companies that had more competitive policies.

In an effort to help employees make the business case for more leave at their companies, we worked with Emily to create an aerospace-specific version of our proposal to increase paid parental leave template.

The template is designed so that employees can advocate for better policies using data on how their companies are behind their competitors.

The result?

A dozen aerospace companies improved their parental leave policies within six months of this initiative.

Gender equity
Podcast recap
Work discussion

Hear more about Emily’s experience advocating for better paid parental leave policies in the aerospace industry,

Listen to the full episode of The False Tradeoff!