Parental Leave Watch | Working Mother

Parental Leave Watch

The Working Mother staff tracks the latest advances in parental leave at America's top companies.

On this page, we'll be tracking announcements about new parental leave offerings at big companies in the United States. Offering paid time off to new moms, dads and adoptive parents has become a potent way for companies that value their workers to attract and keep the best talent, and we encourage them to keep upping the ante.

We will also be tracking any major parental leave policies announced at the local, state or federal level. Currently, the United States is only one of eight countries worldwide (and one of the only developed countries) that doesn't have any sort of mandated paid maternity leave policy.

 

The politics-centric news company recently announced that all new parents will get three months of fully paid leave.

Read about the new report from the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution, which suggests paid leave (up to $600 per week) for 8 weeks for new moms and dads, at this link.

maternity leave

If complies want a simpler parental leave structure, why not advocate for a unified federal approach?

iStock

April 26, 2017

The HR Policy Association, a coalition of more than 380 large U.S. companies, is requesting that Congress set an optional minimum standard for paid parental leave. There would be no requirement for any company to meet the new standard, but any company that does would then be protected from having to offer more leave if a state or local law required it.

Because the federal government hasn't established any rules around parental leave since the passage of the Family Medical Leave Act in 1993 (requiring certain workers to be allowed to take 12 weeks off unpaid), the issue has been taken up by a number of cities and states in recent years: California, Rhode Island and New Jersey all mandate that companies offer paid leave, and New York state will join them in 2018; San Francisco passed legislation last spring requiring six weeks of fully paid leave for all new parents, and Washington DC passed a paid leave law at the end of 2016.

The HR Policy Association (whose members include Marriott, IBM, Procter & Gamble, General Electric and General Mills, among many others) argues that having to comply with a patchwork of different local paid leave laws is administratively difficult -- particularly since many of them already offer generous amounts of maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

So why not encourage the federal government to pass a mandatory minimum amount of paid leave, thus eliminating the headaches of reconciling policies among several office locations? That's how minimum wage laws work -- Congress establishes the floor (currently $7.25 per hour), and then states and cities can pass laws requiring more, but they're all working off the same model.

One proposal, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which has been introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Rosa DeLauro twice (in 2013 and 2015) without a single Republican co-sponsor, would provide up to 12 weeks of partially paid leave for new parents throughout the United States, paid for out of an insurance fund. Companies would be free to supplement the federal leave to whatever level they want in order to continue attracting and retaining the best employees.

female ironworker

Women in this male-dominated industry now get a big perk.

April 18, 2017

Women in the Ironworkers union will soon have access to a perk that's on par with tech giants like Etsy, Adobe, Spotify and Cisco: They will receive six months of paid maternity leave. This is the first time a building trade organization has offered a paid maternity leave benefit to its members.

The new policy is remarkable in part because iron working is a heavily male-dominated field. Women make up just 2,100 members of the 130,000-strong union. The leave is designed to be taken prior to delivery (and complements six to eight weeks of post-delivery leave), since "the challenges of physical work associated with the ironworking trade create unique health challenges that can jeopardize a pregnancy," the union said in a statement announcing the benefit.

Industry leaders say the benefit will actually save companies money, since it can cost more than $30,000 to train an employee, and companies were losing talented female workers when they became pregnant.

March 8, 2017

Nordstrom announced that, as of May 1, all its employees who have worked for the company for at least 180 days will be eligible to receive 6 weeks of fully paid bonding leave--that applies to new moms and dads who give birth, adopt, or foster a child.

Plus, moms giving birth get another 6 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, meaning they'll get 12 weeks off work while receiving their full paychecks.

Both benefits apply to all employees--including those working in the Seattle corporate office and in stores--whether they work part-time or full-time (though to be eligible for the birth mother benefit they must have worked an average of 130 hours per month for six months).

February 28, 2017

Yum! Brands (yes, the exclamation point is part of the name!), parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, just upped its maternity leave offering to 18 fully paid weeks off (from 6 weeks) for all corporate employees (workers at franchise restaurants aren't included); the company is also offering 6 weeks of fully paid leave to new dads and partners as well as to adoptive and foster parents.

Sweetening the pot even further, Yum! also announced a new vacation policy (at least 4 weeks off each year for everybody) and half-day Fridays all year round.

February 17, 2017

A new law in Arkansas allows new moms (not dads) working for state agencies to access up to 4 weeks of maternity leave after giving birth or adopting. It's a new twist, funding-wise, because the state is using a sick leave bank that already contains more than 1.5 million hours of unused sick leave that have been donated by employees, which have already been accounted for in the state budget. The time will also be made available for medical emergencies.

New moms will be eligible for paid maternity leave if they've worked for state agencies for a year, but those working for public school districts or colleges for two years.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

By Ralf Roletschek (talk) - Infos über Fahrräder auf fahrradmonteur.de Wikis in der Ausbildung - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21187750

February 6, 2017

DC mayor Muriel Bowser decided not to veto a bill passed by the city council that would offer 8 weeks of paid leave to people working for private and non-profit employers, even if they live outside of the District. The policy covers people who need time off for their own or a loved one's medical condition as well as for moms and dads to bond with a new baby or adopted child.

The program, which will be funded by a payroll tax, must be reviewed by Congress, which has final say over all laws in DC. If it survives the review, the paid leave program is scheduled to take effect in 2019.

February 8, 2017

Yesterday, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro (both Democrats) introduced the FAMILY Act for the third time. The proposed legislation would create a shared insurance fund to pay all workers in the United States up to two-thirds of their regular paychecks for 12 weeks after the birth or adoption of a child as well as for personal or family medical emergencies.

The proposal is modeled after successful programs in California, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Although the legislation did not make it through committee in either of the previous sessions it was introduced in (2013 and 2015), Republicans have been expressing more interest in paid leave programs over the last election cycle, with President Trump reportedly considering it a priority for his new administration.

 

February 7, 2017

According to WashingtonPost.com, President Trump is considering broadening his proposed policy, which was to offer American working mothers paid leave, to offer all parents paid leave.

"They didn’t want to just focus on mothers,” a low-level member of the administration said. “They were thinking about making it gender-neutral."

An official spokesperson for the administration won't confirm or deny the reports, but did offer, "It’s a top priority of his. The president has expressed a need for a comprehensive maternity plan."

 

February 3, 2017

The city of Tampa announced that its more than 4,000 full-time workers will now be eligible for fully paid parental leave: Primary caregivers get 8 weeks and secondary caregivers get 2 weeks. The benefits apply to parents who give birth, adopt or have a child placed with them for foster care.

Since the Obama administration signed an executive order in 2015 giving all federal employees paid parental leave, more local governments have been following suit. New York City made the move for its non-union employees (6 weeks) in early 2016, but lots of smaller municipalities have also done so, including Missoula, MT (6 weeks at current hourly rate); Greensboro, NC (6 weeks at full salary); and San Antonio, TX (6 weeks fully paid).

In April 2016, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to mandate that all employers offer fully paid leave to workers, upgrading California's law offering partially paid leave.

 

January 26, 2017

This energy provider upgraded its paid leave plan for the new year by offering new moms who are full-timers (with at least a year at the company) who give birth and are primary caregivers 16 weeks of fully-paid leave--doubling its previous offerings. Dads and adopting parents get eight weeks fully paid.

The policy doesn't include part-timers, and Exelon tells us that its unionized employees have separately negotiated leave policies.

 

January 23, 2017

The coffee company has been offering six weeks of partially paid leave to all its U.S. employees who work at least 20 hours per week, but starting this fall, it's making an important change: Those six weeks will now be FULLY paid. Although we at Working Mother support all paid leave (some money is a lot better than what most U.S. employees get, which is no money), we think offering a full paycheck is a big step toward proving how much companies value their parent employees. In fact, we only accept applications to the Working Mother 100 Best Companies from companies that offer at least one week of fully paid maternity leave to new moms.

 

January 10, 2017

The tech company First Data upgraded its parental leave policy for 2017: Primary caregivers (regardless of gender) now get 12 weeks of fully paid leave, whether they work full-time or part-time. Secondary caregivers get 2 weeks of fully paid leave. Like Kering, the company is setting its new policy as a global baseline, so employees in countries where longer leaves are mandated will continue receiving the generous paid time off that's standard for their location.

 

December 21, 2016

Kering, a luxury goods company that owns Alexander McQueen, Gucci and Balenciaga (among others), is based in France but operates in about 60 countries. It recently announced a new parental leave policy that's notable primarily for its global nature: All new moms and adopting parents are eligible for at least 14 weeks of paid leave, and new dads get at least 5 days of paid leave. New parents in countries that mandate more leave (like the 16 weeks fully paid given to moms in Kering's home country) will still be able to take the larger amount, but American parents will see their benefits increase.

 

December 15, 2016

U.S. employees at 3M should scribble this on a Post-it: The science and consumer products company announced today that all new moms and dads (including adopting parents) will be given 10 paid weeks of parental leave. That’s on top of the 6 to 8 weeks of short-term disability time already given to moms who give birth.

 

December 15, 2016

Global chemical company BASF announced that U.S.-based new moms, dads and adopting parents will all be able to take 8 weeks of paid leave. Moms who give birth will be able to take an additional 6 to 8 weeks of maternity leave, which was already on offer.

The company will also begin offering to pay for the first 5 days of FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) time off if employees use it to care for a family member with a serious health condition, and it will offer up to 10 paid days of bereavement leave to employees after the death of an immediate family member.

 

December 14, 2016

American Express recently announced that they are now offering 20 weeks of fully paid leave to new moms, dads and adoptive parent employees. The policy includes full-time and part-time employees who have worked at AmEx for at least a year. Moms who give birth will remain eligible to receive an additional 6 to 8 weeks of medical leave.

The new policy also allows American Express employees to be reimbursed for up to $35,000 in expenses related to adoption, surrogacy and fertility treatments. They're also throwing in free breast-milk shipping for moms who travel on AmEx business and a new parent concierge who can help employees make full use of their parental leave and other benefits.

 

December 14, 2016

Earlier this month, furniture retailer Ikea announced that it would offer paid parental leave to all employees who have worked at the company for at least a year, including men and women and, notably, also including both salaried and hourly workers. The policy applies to employees who have a baby or adopt or foster a child.

After one year of service, employees get full pay for the first 6 weeks of leave and half pay for the next 6 weeks. Those who have worked at Ikea for at least three years can take 8 weeks of leave at full pay and 8 at half pay.

(In Ikea's home country, Sweden, where parental leave is subsidized by the government, workers receive 68 weeks of paid leave when they have a new child.)


About the Working Mother Parental Leave Watch

Paid parental leave is an issue that's obviously near and dear to our hearts at Working Mother. We've been tracking companies that offer it for three decades, and we always encourage more companies to offer more of it. Plus, we advocate for a national policy that mandates paid time off for new moms, dads and adoptive parents. The United States is only one of eight countries in the world and one of the only developed countries that doesn't mandate a paid maternity leave policy. (Click here to send a message to your congressional representatives requesting their support for the FAMILY Act, via the National Partnership for Women and Families.)

Paid leave is so important to us that we don't allow any company to even apply to our prestigious Working Mother 100 Best Companies list unless they offer at least one week of fully paid maternity leave to all full-time exempt employees who have worked there for at least a year. For 2016, the 100 Best Companies offered an average of 9 weeks of fully paid maternity leave; the Top 10 offered an average of 11 weeks. These companies don't just have good policies on paper, either--they are fully committed to making sure employees are encouraged to use all their parental leave without any risk of losing clients or being left out of big projects when they return. Read about how the 2016 100 Best Companies lead on leave.

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