Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal Hailed for Taking Paternity Leave After Birth of Second Child
- The 37-year-old Indian American who took over as Twitter CEO less than three months ago announced his plans during a meeting with Twitter employees last week.
Twitter’s new CEO, Parag Agrawal, is taking a “few weeks” off for paternity leave after the birth of his second child. Agrawal, 37, who took over as Twitter CEO less than three months ago, announced his plans during a meeting with Twitter employees last week, The Washington Post reported. It wasn’t immediately clear when the leave will begin. Agrawal has not named an interim CEO and plans to stay in touch with his executive team while on leave, the Post report said.
Agrawal was named Twitter’s chief technology officer immediately after Jack Dorsey stepped down in November. A report in The New York Times said at the time that The Mumbai-born will receive an annual salary of $1 million, in addition to bonuses, restricted stock units and performance-based stock units. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering from IIT-Bombay.
“At Twitter, we encourage and fully support employees taking parental leave in whatever way works best for each person,” Laura Yagerman, Twitter’s head of corporate communications, said in a statement obtained by the Post. “It’s a personal decision, and we created a parental leave program (supporting up to 20 weeks of flexible leave) that is customizable for that reason.”
The company allows its workers to take up to 20 weeks of parental leave, irrespective of gender.
Agrawal is married to physician-scientist Vineeta Agarwal. The couple got married in January 2016, after getting engaged in October 2015. They have a three-year-old son, Ansh, who was born in November 2018.
According to The Hill, “the U.S. currently has no national paid family leave.” The Family and Medical Leave Act provides only certain employees with unpaid leave for 12 weeks per year. “Democrats were working to advance a proposal for a federal paid family and medical leave program last year as part of their $2 trillion social spending package, but the efforts faced opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and the package has stalled in the Senate,” the report added.
Several of Agrawal’s colleagues took to the microblogging site to laud and support his decision.
“Thank you @paraga for leading by example and taking paternity leave,” tweeted CFO Ned Segal. “I wish leaders did this when I was early in my career and becoming a father. We have 7500 people @twitter who have your back!
Similarly, Brenden Lee, a member of the corporate communications team at Twitter, wrote: “Proud to have @paraga and Twitter leading the way, ensuring ALL parents are able to take advantage of this most special time for their families.”
The Twitter handle of a group called Twitter Parents hoped their CEO’s decision can grant “generous” parental leave for all. “It’s amazing to work at a company where the executives lead by example and take the generous Parental Leave given to all employees.”
Shilpa Kannan, India Curation Lead at Twitter said she’s proud to work in a company where the CEO takes time off for his family when he needs to and leads by example for the rest. “. It’s 2021 — normalize parental leave for dads and mums,” she tweeted.
Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma took to Instagram to react to the news. “About time this is normalized,” she wrote. Her husband, cricketer Virat Kohli was also granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) during the birth of their first child in January 2021.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO of Meta, took two months off work in 2015 to be with his wife, Priscilla Chan, and their first child, Maxima. He took the same time off again in 2017 when he and Chan welcomed their second daughter, August 2017.
Reddit co-founder Alex Ohanian, who is married to tennis superstar Serena Williams, has been a vocal advocate for parental leave. In an opinion piece published in The New York Times in 2020, he said that he took 16 weeks off work to help his wife, who suffered near-fatal complications during childbirth.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also took paternity leave last fall when he and his husband welcomed their children. He faced a backlash for doing so and addressed it by saying America had a lot of “catching up” to do on the issue, The Guardian reported.