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What This Woman Created to Help People Find Mom-Friendly Jobs

Photograph by Twenty20

Last week, Zillow announced that it, too, was revamping its maternity and paternity leave policies—the latest in what is an encouragingly growing number of companies to put money and time behind supporting and keeping their workforce.

New moms at the online real-estate company now get 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave. New dads get eight weeks, all paid, to be home to bond and take care of the new ones.

As Zillow joins other high-profile companies to up their leave packages, expanding them to include men and women, a problem has emerged. How, as a woman interviewing for jobs at any of these companies—Amazon, Netflix , Microsoft and other less high-profile companies whose maternity leave policies have not made the news—do you know what those policies are before taking a job? Businesses aren't required to publish company benefits anywhere. And asking at the job interview? Well, we're not yet that evolved as a society. Women know if they ask, there's a good chance they'll get dinged.

Enter a new start-up: FairyGodBoss.

The crowdsourced website posts anonymous tips and information about different companies around the globe, but mostly in the U.S. You can search its database to find information on what the workplace maternity leave policy, whether leave is paid, partially or fully, whether there's onsite childcare, amount of vacation time and average number of hours worked per day. There's a section to find out salaries for particular positions and hiring bonuses.

FairyGodBoss also has a networking feature.

The site was started by Georgene Huang, who came up with the idea when she was looking for a job while she was pregnant. How could she ask about maternity leave policies? Most women think that will harm their prospects in the job search and companies don't always provide that information until after contracts are signed.

Instead of taking a job with a mystery maternity leave, Huang stopped her search all together and started FairyGodBoss. The site's aim is to provide tools for helping women to help each other succeed. It's like Sheryl Sandberg's "Leaning In," but with less rah-rah and more raw numbers. And an unapologetic need to know, and want, time off after starting a family.

Not only can women now find out a company's policy before applying for a job, FairyGodBoss may also nudge companies who haven't yet joined Netflix and Amazon and others who are really going all out to cough up even more than 16 weeks paid leave.

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