Bumble gives all employees a paid week off amid reports of pandemic-induced burnout

Workers at the firm known for its female leadership are unplugging this week.

June 22, 2021, 2:01 PM

Bumble is giving its entire staff "a paid, fully offline" vacation this week to help ameliorate burnout after a year of working through a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic.

The woman-led dating app, which is helmed by CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, made headlines earlier this year when it became a publicly listed company on the Nasdaq. The initial public offering in February made Wolfe Herd, 31, a billionaire -- but also a symbol for working moms everywhere when she carried her young son on her hip on the Nasdaq floor as she took the company she founded public.

Now, the business leader is being lauded for giving all of her staffers the week off. A Bumble spokesperson confirmed to ABC News via email Tuesday that the more than 750 global employees of the firm have a paid week off this week.

In a tweet late April, Bumble confirmed it was asking all staffers to unplug during the "fully offline" bonus week off.

In addition to being among just a handful of major U.S. companies with a woman chief executive, the majority of Bumble's management team (54%) and board of directors (73%) are also women, according to SEC filings. Multiple reports have indicated that women bore the brunt of caregiving responsibilities at home as the pandemic shuttered childcare centers, sickened millions and forced schools across the country to pivot to online classes.

The caregiving crisis is linked to some 2.4 million women leaving the labor force entirely between February 2020 and February 2021 as the pandemic raged, according to Pew Research Center data.

In addition, a study released late last year from consulting giant McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org warned that one in four women were considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce because of COVID-19, which could undo years of hard-fought gains for women's representation in corporate America. Among the senior-level women who said they were considering stepping out of the labor force or working in a reduced capacity, nearly 3 in 4 of them cited "burnout" as the main reason, the study found.

While the pandemic shone a harsh spotlight on the existing inequities many women still face while trying to balance work and family life, they are not alone in feeling the pandemic-induced burnout. As a shift to remote work blurred the boundaries between being on and off the clock, some data indicates work productivity actually ticked up during this health crisis.

PHOTO: Whitney Wolfe Herd attends "Women In Charge" on Sept. 10, 2019 in New York City.
Whitney Wolfe Herd attends "Women In Charge" on Sept. 10, 2019 in New York City.
Lars Niki/Getty Images for Diane von Furstenberg, FILE

Microsoft's Work Trend Index, published earlier this year, found that one in five global survey respondents say their employer doesn't care about their work-life balance. Moreover, 54% reported feeling "overworked" and 39% percent feel "exhausted." The Microsoft report warned business leaders are "out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call."

Meanwhile, the share of workers who left their jobs in April was 2.7%, marking highest "quits rate" since its record-keeping began for the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, according to data released by the agency earlier this month.

While many firms are taking heat for an apparent indifference towards their burnt-out workforce, Bumble is not alone in announcing post-pandemic flexibility as the nation begins to recover from the toll of the pandemic that left more than 600,000 Americans dead.

In April, LinkedIn gave all of its employees a week off as part of an initiative dubbed "RestUp!" focusing on employee mental health. Teuila Hanson, LinkedIn's chief people office, posted on the networking platform shortly after the paid time off that it was "so inspiring to see how our employees returned to work rejuvenated and recharged."

"It reminds me just how critical company culture and the wellness and mental health of employees are to any business," Hanson wrote.

Social media management firm Hootsuite also announced in a blogpost late last month that it was also giving its staffers a company-wide week off, as the "pandemic reminded us how important mental health is."