- The US and most of its states have no paid parental-leave policy, leaving employers to offer it as a perk.
- Years of research have shown such policies have health and career benefits for both parents.
- The nonprofit Just Capital is advocating for policies that apply equally to primary and secondary caregivers. It’s found large, public companies in the US that offer at least four months for both.
- This article is part of Business Insider’s ongoing series on Better Capitalism.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Because the United States is the only developed country without a paid-parental-leave policy, Americans have to rely on their state governments and employers to step up. And while there have been recent developments indicating that more will follow suit, only six states and Washington, DC, have paid family-care policies that can be used for new parents.
This means much of that burden is placed on employers.
The nonprofit Just Capital has highlighted large, public companies that it found are meeting this challenge. These are certainly not the only companies with generous benefits for parents, but they all share a key metric. When assessing the quality of a company’s policy, Just considered more highly those that offered the same paid-leave benefit to both mothers and fathers (or primary and secondary caregivers, i.e. if a parent in a couple will be spending more time with the infant). It’s common for businesses to offer significantly more paid leave to primary caregivers, with additional time for birth mothers. Just’s team advocates for an approach where secondary caregivers are given equal time with their new child.
“While the paid leave landscape may generally be improving, there’s a long way to go toward creating equal access to all parents,” Just’s director of external engagement Yusuf George wrote on a blog post.
Not only do most Americans want both mothers and fathers to have access to paid parental leave, but there is a wealth of research showing that such policies have physical, emotional, financial, and career benefits.
And regardless of whether a mother gave birth, used a surrogate, or adopted, babies’ brains go through rapid growth in their first year. A healthy bond with their caregivers during this period has lasting positive effects on their development. Paid leave policies allow parents to develop this bond without having to choose between career and family, and without sacrificing a source of income during a challenging period.
There is still a long way to go before most Americans have access to these benefits, but in the meantime, the following companies are showing what’s possible.
Citigroup offers 16 weeks (four months).
The bank boosted its benefits last year.
Facebook has a 16-week policy.
Facebook also offers reimbursement for baby supplies and daycare.
Juniper Networks employees get 16 weeks.
Juniper Networks also offers flexible work arrangements that can benefit new parents.
Square has a 16-week policy.
Employees can spread this amount over time, rather than taking it all at once.
TD Ameritrade offers new parents 16 weeks.
The financial services company expanded the policy and added job-security protection in 2017.
Zendesk also has a 16-week policy.
The customer-service software company has had this in place since 2015.
Alphabet employees get 18 weeks (4.5 months).
Alphabet is Google’s parent company, and Google has had its generous paid maternity leave policy in place since 2007.
VMware offers employees 18 weeks.
The software company revamped its policy in 2018.
American Express offers its employees 20 weeks (five months).
All employees who have worked with the company for at least one year are eligible.
Estée Lauder employees have 20 weeks to take off.
The cosmetics giant boosted its paternity-leave policy after settling a discrimination lawsuit last year that was filed by 210 male employees.
Twitter also offers 20 weeks.
The policy has been in place since 2016.
DocuSign offers 24 weeks (six months).
The expanded paid leave policy was one of several overhauled benefits the e-signature company implemented in 2017.
Prudential offers 26 weeks (6.5 months) for both parents.
The financial-services company expanded its policy last year.
Netflix offers up to 52 weeks (a full year) in its famous “unlimited” plan.
After introducing its “unlimited” policy in 2015, critics pointed out that it did not apply to hourly employees or those working in its shrinking DVD division. In response, Netflix updated its policy to apply to all workers.
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