Large Employers Offering Increasingly Generous Parental Leave



In an effort to attract and retain employees, large employers are increasingly offering more generous paid family leave benefits.  

American Express Co. employees having a child through birth, adoption or surrogacy are eligible for 20 weeks of paid parental leave, the company announced Dec. 12.  

Under AmEx’s new paid parental leave policy, which covers both women and men, birthing mothers are also eligible for an additional six to eight weeks of paid medical leave. 

Set to go into effect beginning Jan. 1, 2017, the benefits are an upgrade from AmEx’s current offering of six weeks paid leave for primary caregivers and two weeks’ paid leave for secondary caregivers. 

Furniture retailer IKEA will offer their employees up to four months of paid parental leave, IKEA said Dec. 6.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, those employed longer than one year can take up to three months of parental leave, receiving 100 percent of their base wage for the first six weeks and 50 percent for the final six weeks. Those employed for three or more years can take up to four months of parental leave, receiving 100 percent of their base wage for the first eight weeks and 50 percent for the final eight weeks.

IKEA is also introducing a sabbatical program for employees that are not having children to refresh and engage in personal and professional growth and development, they said.

While paid family leave isn’t federally mandated, and most U.S. workers aren’t offered any kind of paid family leave, paid family leave initiatives at the local level have gained traction over the last year. 

A preliminary vote on paid family leave passed the D.C. city council on Dec. 6, 2016. If the bill passes the second city council vote on Dec. 20, D.C. workers would be eligible for eight weeks of newborn or adopted child care leave, six weeks of relative-care leave and two weeks for personal medical leave. 

New York, California and San Francisco all passed paid family leave laws in 2016. San Francisco’s paid family leave law is set to go into effect gradually beginning in January 2017. Both New York and California’s paid family leave laws will go into effect in January 2018.  

A federal mandate may be in the cards. President-elect Donald Trump said during his campaign that he would push for six weeks of paid family leave for new mothers.

See related story, AmEx Unveils a Big Weapon in the Parental Leave Arms Race.

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