Family caregiving is a disruptive force in the US labor market. Workers miss an average of 6.6 days of work per year tending to caregiving demands, costing the US economy approximately $25 billion in lost productivity annually. And while parental benefits have historically supported a certain kind of care during a certain stage of one’s life, there has not been as much discussion about other family caregiving situations that could disrupt any stage of one’s career.
In fall of 2016, we instituted a new paid family leave program that enhances and increases our existing paid parental leave program, while broadening the scope to include caring for a family member with a serious medical condition. The enhanced paid family leave program provides eligible professionals up to 16 weeks of paid leave in a rolling 52-week period, taken in at least three business-day increments. The program is gender- and generation-neutral, meaning any eligible professional may use the program to bond with a child through birth or adoption or to care for a spouse/domestic partner, parent, child and/or sibling with a serious health condition.
This program strengthens our commitment to empowering the well-being of our people and supports our inclusive culture by:
The initial feedback we have received from our people has been phenomenal. Hundreds of professionals responded to the internal announcement to share their appreciation and their personal stories of caring for a loved one. The inclusivity of the program made a particularly strong impression on our people. One professional noted, “I don’t have children but I do have aging parents and I am very happy to see that included as an option for the future if needed.” Another professional shared, “Specifically for me, as a gay man that anticipates growing a family through adoption, I am sincerely grateful to have the opportunity to have significant paid time off to bond with my child/children regardless of my gender, relationship status, birth/adoption of a child, etc.”
As more and more people learn of or experience the benefits of the program, the more they are helped to eradicate an unconscious bias that only mothers with babies are impacted by family caregiving needs.