Please provide an overview of what companies are taking a position on parental leave policies, what they are saying and what constitutes a newsworthy stance. Time period: Over the past 12 months.
Within the last 12 months, Amazon, Airbnb, TD Bank, Estee Lauder, and IBM made the news with their new stances on parental leave policies. For example, Estée Lauder was sued for giving fathers 2 weeks paid leave while giving mothers 6 weeks of paid leave. Below is a deep dive into the companies and media articles detailing their new policies, policy changes, and any newsworthy stances.
A recently published CNBC article states that "the U.S. comes in the last place among the 41 countries that comprise the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED) and the government does not mandate any paid leave for parents".
Amazon has a notable parental leave policy. It is considered innovative because it pays the employees' spouses, who are not working for the company. This policy came into effect in 2015. Amazon began offering the paid maternity leave of up to 14 weeks to the pregnant females. In addition, the company decided to provide an additional 6 weeks to those who have been with the company more than a year. In total, employees get 20 weeks (5 months) of fully paid leave.
An article published in NY Times, 6 Oct 2017, calls Amazon's parental leave policy 'pretty amazing and innovative'.
The article further mentioned that the Amazon's Leave Share program is special since it gives employees the chance to “share” their parental leave with their spouse, "if they work at a company that does not offer them parental leave." The company also has a Ramp Back program, where new parents are allowed an 8-week flexible schedule and reduced work hours ease the transition back to work.
Amazon sees the policy as a win-win for employees and employers.
The Amazon's official policy statement detailed about their new parental leave policy including the Ramp Back and Leave Share programs. Some key findings of the policies are as following:
— Employees are free to choose when to take their parental leave time. It can either be "in a continuous 6-week time or split into two periods within 12 months of birth or adoption".
— The Adoption Assistance benefit of Amazon provides new parents support for "costs associated with the international or domestic adoption of a child".
— Amazon also offers reimbursement to its employees for qualified adoption expenses including "adoption fees, attorney fees, court costs, and travel costs, up to $5,000 for a single — child adoption or up to $10,000 combined maximum for a sibling — group adoption".
In 2017, Fortune mentioned Nathan Blecharczyk, the co-founder of Airbnb, who recently became an outspoken on the importance of fathers on parental leave.
In 2010, Airbnb interviewed for a position of CFO. That person asked about the parental leave and at that time the company had not established a parental leave policy. Blecharczyk admired his stance and saw that the candidate was committed to his family and socia equality. The article further mentioned, "that is why he is an advocate of providing more benefits to parents, including paid parental leave".
Currently, Airbnb gives 10 weeks of paid leave, as well as the ability to transition back to work with a four-day week for eight weeks thereafter.
According to Blecharczyk getting paid parental leave is a luxury. He thinks it is the responsibility of industry leaders to create a supportive environment that empowers employees.
Fatherly awarded Airbnb as one of the top 50 places to work for dads. Fatherly mentioned that Airbnb recently moved their paid paternity leave from 8 weeks to 10 weeks. In addition to 10 weeks of paid parental leave, the company provides up to 12 weeks of paid pregnancy leave, including a $2,000 annual travel stipend.
Airbnb offers employees family care benefits through Bright Horizons, which provides parents with access to subsidized healthcare services to help them better manage the demands of their personal life. Moreover, Airbnb’s “return to work” program allows new parents to work 4 days a week for the first 8 weeks back at 100% pay.
Many people commented on the Airbnb article on Twitter, including the President of YWomen, agreeing with the Airbnb founder. They all agreed that men are leaders and role models, and they deserve parental leave too.
Diversity Inc. mentioned a new parental leave policy started by TD Securities and TD Bank. The policy offers "16 weeks of paid leave to all parents — men and women — welcoming a new child, either by birth or adoption".
The policy is hailed to be among the most generous in the financial services' industry. "
Key provisions of the policy include:
(i) 16 weeks of paid leave to all eligible parents
(ii) Primary and secondary caregiver eligibility, regardless of gender
(iii) Job protection during leave"
The article further mentioned that the parental leave policy was launched after a survey done by TD Bank which revealed that "62% of Americans and 85% of Millennials believe a parental leave policy is an important factor to consider when choosing an employer".
Another article published in Inc. states that by offering the new policy TD Bank is leading the way.
It further explained what makes the new policy best in class from a woman's perspective. "Many American women who even qualify for parental leave (meaning job protection) receive just 6 weeks unpaid leave; some luckier group are able to benefit from short-term disability through their company that gives them some amount of paid leave depending upon the length of service."
"Webster says TD Bank is on a quest to make it easier for employees to have equal access to a great career and a wonderful family life."
TD Bank's motto is "Human Bank" and it seems that they link customer satisfaction and other performance metrics with employee satisfaction.
As per the Twitter page, TD Bank tweeted about the new policy in July saying "Our 16-week parental leave policy leaves no parent behind, #WeAreAllOne". It received 22 likes.
Despite minimal retweets, many people tweeted about the new policy. People are saying that everyone should copy the new policy and they call it 'generous', including Robert Hellmann, a LinkedIn trainer.
An article published in the Business of Fashion, 2017, states that Estée Lauder has been sued. The article mentioned that the company’s parental leave policy allows new fathers to take 2weeks of paid leave, while new mothers get 6 weeks and now entered lawsuit filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). According to EEOC, the practice violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Estée Lauder has not commented yet on the case. It is noted that 84% of the company’s global workforce are women. The article further mentioned that the lawsuit was filed the same week that the EEOC said: "it would not make companies report their gender-pay gaps, reversing an Obama-era push to increase pay transparency scheduled to start in 2018". Also, "in announcing the lawsuit, the EEOC said highlighting sex-based pay discrimination, including paid leave, is a priority issue.
Another article from AP News stated that the lawsuit alleges that "new fathers at the beauty products maker get lesser [sic] benefits than their female colleagues. ... The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Christopher Sullivan, an Estee Lauder stock person in a Delaware store". Further, the lawsuit says that "on June 15, 2015, Sullivan informed the company of the birth of his child and his intention to take primary caregiver leave for 6 weeks under Estee Lauder’s policy". Also, he was informed that "as the biological father, he was entitled only to secondary caregiver leave and would receive 2 weeks off".
Twitter Response — The lawsuit is a popular discussed topic on Twitter and many people have commented on it such as Prevue HR, Workforce21, Business Human Rights. AP Eastern US retweet of the article received 47 likes.
The article published in Techcrunch, Oct. 2017 mentions about IBM's new policy. IBM is extending its maternity leave from 14 weeks to up to 20 weeks of paid time off. The "20 weeks time includes 8 weeks of short-term disability because having a baby seems to qualify as a temporary disability."
The article further mentioned about the parental leave for fathers, partners and adoptive parents. They get a leave of 6 to 12 weeks. Also, "these benefits will be available for employees who became new parents anytime after November 2016". The new parents can take their paid leave up to one year after birth.
Additionally, IBM will also provide reimbursements of up to $20,000 to parents for eligible adoption or surrogacy expenses. It includes the "costs associated with surrogate birth mothers." IBM will also reimburse up to $50,000 to the employees whose children require special post-natal care. This includes any services they "need to provide for their children with mental, physical or developmental disabilities".
In October 2017, CNET stated, IBM as another tech company "upping its parental leave game".
The news of the new policy was revealed in an IBM blog post. IBM's Vice President of employee benefits commented that "as the landscape for working parents changes, it's abundantly clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for the issues faced by parents who are balancing family with outside work every day".
This makes IBM the latest tech company who has adopted a more liberal policy toward parental leave as this is a time when "there's more attention on the impact of having parents stay with their children longer during the early days of their development".
The new policy was revealed on October 25 on the THINK Blog by Barbara Brickmeier. The blog posts received 22 comments.
The article states that "fathers now play a greater role in child-rearing, and hundreds of thousands of same-sex couple households have children".
It further mentioned that there is no "one-size-fits-all approach for parents balancing family and work every day of their lives" and this is fueling benefit equality.
The key facts of the new policy include that paid parental leave will be up to 20 weeks, which is double what they used to offer fathers. IBM employees who have become new parents "can choose to take the bonding leave anytime during the first year after the birth or adoption".
Twitter Response — The new policy was well discussed with tweets from Coworker.org, Paul Papas (Global IBM Strategy Leader), Guide Spark and others. People compliment the company for its decision and said they are proud of working for IBM.
On the basis of our research based on the required criteria, we have created a list of articles dedicated to what companies are taking a position on parental leave policies, what they are saying and what constitutes a newsworthy stance. We found five companies Amazon, IBM, Airbnb, TD Bank, and Estee Lauder who have taken decisions on the parental leave policy. For public reaction, we have followed the news on the Twitter and noted the response.