ZestFinance Expands Parental Leave To Six Months Paid Time Off For Primary Caregivers

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ZestFinance, a data-driven underwriting and credit analysis platform, is implementing an expanded parental leave policy. Now, ZestFinance is offering employees six months of paid time off for primary caregivers, three months of paid time off for secondary caregivers, and the option for primary caregivers to work part-time for an additional six months without losing any benefits coverage.

This comes after tech companies like Facebook and Netflix have started offering more time off for parental leave. At Facebook, all full-time employees worldwide get up to four months paid baby leave. In August, Netflix began offering unlimited maternity and paternity leave programs for new parents. For reference, the law only requires employers to offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year. 

ZestFinance has also come through on its diversity commitments, which the company announced in August, having increased the number of ethnically diverse employees by 25%, thus increasing total minority representation at the company to 39%. ZestFinance also doubled the number of veteran employees since August. ZestFinance did this by recruiting from places where the majority of candidates were diverse, employee referrals, and focusing less on prior experience.

“We hire for intellectual horsepower and culture fit vs. skill,” ZestFinance Chief People Officer Sonya Merrill told TechCrunch. “We believe people can learn skills on the job. Not being so rigid about skills allows us to hire from a much wider pool of candidates, whereas many companies put skills first on their list of requirements, which gives them a more narrow pool of people to choose from.”

Regarding gender diversity, ZestFinance has not yet achieved its goal of gender parity, with just a 42% female workforce. By the end of 2016, ZestFinance is aiming to triple its number of employees with disabilities. ZestFinance has also partnered with the National Business and Disability Council (NBDC) to create a consortium to help Los Angeles-based startups recruit and hire people of color, women, people with disabilities, and veterans.

ZestFinance, founded in 2009 by former Google CIO and VP of engineering Douglass Merrill, has raised over $130 million in funding from investors like Peter Thiel, Northgate Capital, Lightspeed Ventures and Kensington Capital Holdings.

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