Roy Gilbert

Every Employee Should Have Access to Paid Parental Leave

Alison Beard Alexis Ohanian is the cofounder of Reddit and now leads the investment firm Initialized Capital as cofounder and managing partner. But he says that his most important roles in life are husband, to tennis champion Serena Williams, and father, to their daughter, Olympia, now age two. After taking his own paternity leave and learning how to operate as a working dad, he has become an advocate for mandatory paid family leave in the United States. This is an edited version of our conversation in mid-August. Why did you decide to make paid parental leave your cause? I honestly hadn’t thought much about it until my daughter was born. At Reddit, we offered 16 weeks of leave, and, in using all of it, I saw firsthand how important it was. My wife and I have tons of advantages — help at home, supportive families, and other resources. But after the life-threatening complications she faced following childbirth , I couldn’t imagine having to leave my family for my job or being told to decide between the two. It really hit home. I saw that this shouldn’t be a privilege afforded only to folks lucky enough to work at companies with good policies. It should be required. Why had you already decided to offer a relatively generous policy at Reddit? When I came back to the company in 2014, after stepping back from a full-time executive role for several years, we had no HR. Katelin Holloway was willing to come […]

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