- DocuSign, an e -signature company, expanded its parental leave policy in February of 2017.
- Employees who are primary caregivers, now receive six months of paid leave within the first year of the child’s arrival.
- DocuSign CEO Dan Springer reflected on his own experience as a single father and the son of a single mother when discussing the policy change.
DocuSign CEO Dan Springer knows what it’s like to balance two challenging roles.
Long before he took the helm of the e-signature company in January of 2017, Springer was busy juggling being a single father and working as the CEO of Responsys, a public SaaS marketing firm.
“It was really hard to try to do both well, run a public company and have two teen-aged boys,” he told Business Insider.
Everything changed when Oracle swooped in and bought Responsys for $US1.6 billion in 2014. Springer decided to take time off from the business world. He did some work with a private equity firm and sat on a few boards. For the most part, though, he spent time with his sons.
“I basically could make breakfast every morning and dinner every night and be at every practice and game,” he said. “Just a much more deep connection.”
Now, with one son in college and the other a senior in high school, Springer has jumped back into the role of CEO at DocuSign.
Not long after joining DocuSign, he said the company’s human resources department approached him about the idea of expanding its parental leave benefits. Fresh off spending three and a half years focusing on his role as a father, Springer supported the new plan.
“It was life-changing for me in such a positive way,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be great if people could have more time to bond?”
Now, DocuSign employees who are the primary caregivers to a new child can receive six months of paid time off. Non-primary caregivers can receive eight weeks of paid time. The policy went into effect February 1, 2018.
Springer said that language of the policy is flexible and inclusive to accommodate employees welcoming a new child through birth, surrogacy, or adoption. The six months also don’t have to be taken immediately after the child’s arrival – employees can take off anytime within the first year.
“We’re trying to figure out as many ways as we can to be as flexible as possible to maximise the benefits for employees and their families,” Springer said.
Springer said he hoped the policy would also make life easier for other single parents.
“It is so much harder as a single parent,” he said. “Even though I conceptually knew it, even though I had lived that as the child of a single mother, until I found myself trying to balance the two, you just can’t understand it. You kind of have to live it to feel the pressure you feel trying to do both jobs well.”
He said so far he has received an outpouring of positive feedback from DocuSign employees. What’s more, it isn’t just the new or soon-to-be parents who are happy.
“A lot of people have come up and said, ‘I’ve already had my kids, you know they’re four and six, but I’m so happy that my colleagues are going to have this opportunity that I didn’t have,'” he said.
Springer said he hopes more companies across the tech startup ecosystem implement similar policies. Already, organisations including Etsy, Netflix, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Adobe, EY, and Facebook have established generous parental leave policies.
The CEO added that his own mother, who raised him by herself, is a fan of the new policy, too.
“As I got older I really started to understand how much my mum gave to me while she was working and taking care of the family,” Springer said.”I won’t share all the details of my emotional message I gave to her about appreciating and loving her, but I think I got a tear or two out of her. That was a nice moment.”
This article was first published on September 19, 2017.
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