Supporting Employees After Childbirth

Tools used in this project
Supporting Employees After Childbirth

About this project

This project was completed as an entry into the Maven Family Leave Challenge. I was excited about this project due to my interest in all things related to supporting employees, and as a husband and father of three, I also found it to be personally relevant.

The Scenario

I am working as a Data Visualization Specialist at an online business journal, and my job is to create charts, visuals, and infographics as supporting content for articles. As part of Women's History Month in the United States, the company is writing a piece on parental leave policies, and I need to create an impactful visual using data I collected. No further information was provided as to the theme or content of the article.

Data Cleaning

  • Removed excess whitespace using the TRIM() function
  • Checked for blank cells with the COUNTBLANK() function and none were found
  • All numerical data appeared to be within the expected range of 0-52
  • Used the COUNTIF() function to find one duplicate company. Removed the duplicate by averaging the numerical data

Data Validation

There were three companies that lacked industry data. I was able to appropriately categorize them through online research.

While every company had data on paid maternity leave, some lacked data on unpaid maternity leave, and the vast majority lacked data on paid and unpaid paternity leave. Out of 1,600 companies, only 107 lacked data on unpaid maternity leave, while 1,312 lacked data on paid paternity leave and 1,537 lacked data on unpaid paternity leave.

Some companies offer "parental" leave, but reported leave policies offered conflicting data regarding maternal and paternal leave. For example, Netflix was reported as offering 52 weeks of paid maternity leave, 0 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, with no data for paid or unpaid paternity leave. In reality, however, Netflix offers 52 weeks of paid parental leave, which covers both mothers and fathers. Netflix is commonly regarded as setting the gold standard for corporate parental leave policies.

Nineteen companies were reported to have more paid paternity leave than paid maternity leave, which is highly unlikely. Western Digital, for example, was reported to offer 8 weeks of paid maternity leave and 12 weeks of paid paternity leave. Their website, however, states that they offer 12 weeks of paid leave to birth parents, spouses, and domestic partners.

Aside from the time that would be required to verify parental leave data for this many companies, it turns out that many companies do not make this information public. Furthermore, leave policies change from time to time, so it is expected that employees might report conflicting information. I decided to proceed with the data gathered, reporting it in aggregate form only.

At this point I was struck by two observations:

  1. There was much confusion regarding paternal leave policies
  2. There is a great disparity between maternity and paternity leave

I decided to conduct some independent research in order to provide context for the data provided, as well as to further refine the theme of the article.

Independent Research

I found the following information and resources to be helpful:

“Measured at one year, the U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate of advanced economies” Extensive data on objective timeframes https://www.newamerica.org/better-life-lab/reports/paid-family-leave-how-much-time-enough/

The U.S. is one of the few advanced economies that does not have job-protected paid parental leave. And although it spends the most on health care, it has the highest infant and maternal mortality rates of advanced economies


Among 41 countries, only the U.S. lacks paid parental leave


82% say mothers should receive paid leave following birth or adoption

69% say fathers should receive paid leave following birth or adoption


100% of fathers were glad they took paternity leave and 90% noticed an improved relationship with their partner

Paternity leave has the potential to help reduce gender disparity at home and in the workplace


A wealth of additional data can be found here:


My Approach

I decided that the theme of the article would be how companies could support employees following childbirth. I presented my visualizations in a mock article layout using descriptive headings with Lorem Ipsum filler text. The primary visualization is lengths of paid maternity leave, preceded by a visualization of postpartum recovery times providing important context. Following that, I presented some graphics conveying information regarding the importance of paternity leave, as well as highlighting the confusion employees had about their companies’ paternal leave policies.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I was very pleased with the results, although I think the transition from maternity leave to discussing the importance of paternity leave could have been better. I am a firm believer in teamwork, and I would have loved to have been working on this project as part of a team.

Additional project images

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