Amazon is stepping up its game. The online retail giant has just announced a new family leave policy that grants new fathers paid time off for the first time ever. Under this policy, new birth parents or adoptive parents who have worked for the company for at least one year will receive six weeks of paid leave, regardless of gender. New mothers will also benefit, too. They can now take off up to 20 weeks, including the month preceding the birth of a child. Not too shabby!
Stacey Delo, founder & CEO of Maybrooks, a career resource for moms where employers showcase their family friendly benefits, tells Levo, “Amazon’s move to provide additional leave to more employees shows the competitive pressure companies are under to support workplace models that support working families as a means to attract and retain talent.” And since just 12 percent of workers have access to employer paid leave in general, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, Delo says that maternity and paternity benefits are just the beginning. “It takes a broader set of policies over a long period of time to fully support working parents, and companies that understand this and take efforts to improve their workplace culture, will win.”
Amazon follows a small slew of companies who have adopted the mindset (and clearly read the studies) that show that paid parental leave benefits everyone. According to a 2012 report from the US Department of Labor on family and medical leave, about 15 percent of people who were not paid or who received partial pay while on leave turned to public assistance for help and 60 percent of workers who took this leave reported it was very hard to make ends meet.
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But we still have a ways to go. These handful of standout companies just make us realize how many more companies need to follow.
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