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Yahoo Has a New Maternity Leave Policy

It’s been a few months since Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been criticized for (pick one) not taking a long enough maternity leave/naming her baby via crowdsourcing/not acting as a good enough role model for working women/building a nursery next to her office/telling remote employees to report to the office. Which means it must be time to talk about her again—just so long as it’s not in the context of her actual job.

But wait! Could it be that Mayer has actually done something to garner applause instead of boos? Holy twist, Batman! It was announced on Tuesday that Yahoo will be extending—doubling, even—paid maternity and paternity leave for employees.

“Recently, we rolled out some new and improved benefits to support the happiness and well-being of Yahoos and their families,” a company spokesperson told the UK’s Daily Mail.

RELATED: Marissa Mayer vs. Work-at-Home Parents

New moms will now be entitled to 16-week leaves with benefits, while adoptive parents and dads can take eight weeks, also paid. The old policy allowed just eight weeks for moms, or 10 if they had a C-section. Another bonus is a $500 gift from Yahoo to be spent on babysitters, house cleaners, toys or baby-related groceries. And not wanting to offend or leave out the childless—Yahoo is also offering gifts for employees with new dogs and cats.

Lest anyone think this change in perks was a ploy on Mayer’s part to salvage her reputation as a simultaneous enemy to women, working moms and female executives, it turns out Yahoo is just trying to lure talent to their company instead of rivals such as Google and Facebook. The former offers 22-weeks paid maternity leave and the latter offers 4 months in addition to $4,000 in “baby cash.” In other words, she’s acting as an actual CEO, not a mom-in-chief.

Of course while it would seem this is more good business strategy than face-saving, it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s coming at a time when the complaints about Mayer just won’t go away.

It’s hard to imagine Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg getting nitpicked for every human resource-related change

But it’d be one thing if Mayer’s critics just disagreed with her reining in remote employees because they felt it was an anachronistic strategy, but it’s a whole other thing how she’s accused of not playing for the right team because others don’t like her choices as a mom and female businessperson.

It’s hard to imagine Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg getting nitpicked for every human resource-related change and nuance at Google and Facebook the way Mayer has been. Would it make news if either had a nursery built next to their office? When was the last time you read anything about compensation changes at their companies? At a time when women are supposed to be leaning in and worrying about getting ahead, why can’t we just allow Mayer to lean in herself and to the job she was hired to do as a savvy employee without trying to trip her at every turn and make her do it also as a woman and mom?

RELATED: Lean In? Women Should Lean Sideways Instead

Maybe Yahoo’s most recent move will start to balance out the naysayers and allow Mayer to start being judged as an executive who happens to be a female instead of a female executive.

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