Banking veteran Sallie Krawcheck on Tuesday slammed the U.S.'s lack of paid parenting leave, telling an audience that more generous policies would be a “return on investment” for companies.
The CEO of Ellevest, a digital investing startup focused on women, offers 12 weeks paid parenting leave to both primary and non-primary parents.
"It's un-f-ing-believable [sic] to me that as the richest country in the history of the world, we don't have mandated paid parental leave,” Krawcheck said during the INvolve & Audeliss CEO Panel Breakfast hosted by Yahoo Finance — using a euphemism for a commonly-known expletive.
“It is outrageous," she added.
Presently, the U.S. is the only OECD country that doesn't mandate that companies provide income support during maternity or parental leave. Yet research has shown removing this roadblock would contribute to economic growth.
The subject has become a hot topic, as companies calibrate the need for employee work-life balance against how much it will cost the bottom line.
"Ok, yes, fine, there's an expense to it,” Krawcheck acknowledged. However, “I would say, given the return on it, it's an investment. And, it doesn't actually have to cost that much," she added.
Krawcheck, who spent 30 years on Wall Street holding top banking positions, noted that the first child is where the gender pay and wealth gaps start to expand.
"If one is able to take that time with the family early on, then one is more likely to come back to work," she said.
At Ellevest, “what we found if we are going to live by our values that we didn't want to be a company all for the mission of getting more money in the hands of women and then we've got a mommy track," she added.