Could it be that we’re finally at a tipping point when it comes to parental leave? I’m almost afraid to ask the question, but it’s long overdue.
Supporting the needs of employees who are also parents is simply smart business. Not only does it reduce costs (e.g. recruiting/replacement, absenteeism), but companies seem to forget a critical point when evaluating their support for (or objection to) paid leave and similar programs -- working parents are raising the next generation of employees, so doesn’t it make sense to give these children the benefit of parents who can be fully-present?
I’ve been saying this for years…no working parent should have to choose between being a good employee and a good parent. And many have had to make this choice for far too long.
Considering the fact that we rank along with Oman and Papua New Guinea as one of only three countries that does not provide paid parental leave, to say that the respect and support for working parents has been lacking would be a serious understatement. Employees who are essentially juggling two full-time jobs, who excel at multi-tasking and problem-solving (two key competencies companies seek), and who are raising their children while helping to keep their companies profitable. If I wasn't one myself, I'd be shaking my own head in amazement.
There's no better way for companies to truly "walk the talk" than by recognizing the needs and providing supports for working parents over the lifecycle of their children's lives. Some of these needs (e.g. raising a child with autism) are more complex, yet company support remains integral to retaining these top employees. And this begins by providing parents the quality time they need with their children from the start.
Enter Intel’s new benefit - “bonding leave” - which provides employees (Moms and Dads alike) with eight weeks of paid leave to be with their families. Add this to the 13 paid weeks that new mothers can take anytime within 12 months of their child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. The result? A company that gets it.
Whether it’s called parental leave, bonding leave, or anything else, if it allows working parents the time they and their children need to become what we want every family to be - a strong unit - without the paycheck worry, let’s call it anything we want as long as the end results are the same.
-Debra I. Schafer, CEO