KPMG vows to honour full sponsorship contract for LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis while on maternity leave -- and it could be huge for women's professional sports

Harry How/Getty ImagesStacy Lewis will get the entirety of her contract from sponsor KPMG despite missing a portion of the season due to maternity leave, and it could mean big things for women’s sports moving forward.
  • LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis announced that she and her husband Gerrod Chadwell were expecting their first child.
  • Lewis received further good news when one of her sponsors, KPMG, called her to say they planned to pay her contract for the year in full, regardless of any tournaments she missed due to maternity leave.
  • KPMG was only obligated to pay for tournaments Lewis appeared in but chose to treat her like any other employee on maternity leave.
  • KPMG’s commitment to Lewis could encourage other sponsors to follow their lead, and to the practice becoming the norm across sports where women compete individually and without teams.

LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis is having a good week even though she has to take a break from her career as a professional golfer.

First, Lewis announced that she and her husband Gerrod Chadwell were expecting their first child with a due date in November, according to Golf Week.

But beyond growing her family, the news could also potentially lead to important changes in her sport and others, as KPMG, one of Lewis’ sponsors, has agreed to pay Lewis’ contract out in full for the year, despite the fact that she’ll be missing a good portion of the 2018 season while on maternity leave.

Per Golf Week:

“(KPMG) called me a couple days later and said they wanted to pay me for the whole contract, regardless of the number of tournaments I played in,” said Lewis. “They see me as a member of their team and their family and they wanted to treat me like any other female in their organisation that has a baby. Which I was pretty blown away by, shocked to get that phone call really.”

While this should be the norm, KPMG didn’t have any legal obligation to pay Lewis in full, as their sponsorship contract was tied to how many appearances an athlete makes.

“In our sport, you don’t get paid unless you play,” said Lewis. “Take away tournaments, you take away income from both sides. That money is not guaranteed unless you play. For a lot of people who are thinking about starting a family, that’s a deal-breaker.”

With KPMG stepping up and paying Lewis in full, it could encourage her other sponsors to follow suit, and hopefully lead to it becoming standard practice across the sport of golf, as well as other sports where athletes compete as individual contractors, such as tennis.

Lewis has 12 LPGA Tour wins to her name, including two majors. She plans to play through July before taking maternity leave and will be ready to get back on the course for a full season in 2019.

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