The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that doesn't guarantee paid parental leave for moms and dads in the workforce. It's a failure that hurts families and it's long past time for a change. While American parents wait for the government to take action , some companies are stepping up to fill the void.
Volvo Cars is the latest employer to announce a package that lets parents take time off for a new addition—without having to worry about how to pay the bills. The automaker's " Family Bond " program is going into effect this week. Employees with at least a year of service in the company will be able to take up to 24 weeks of paid family leave, regardless of gender. That means non-birth parents are eligible as well. The policy applies to new additions welcomed through birth, adoption, surrogacy, or even permanent foster care. Volvo says the leave can be taken at any time within the first three years of parenthood.
"We want to lead change in this industry and set a new global people standard," said Hanna Fager, the company's head of corporate functions. "By opting all our employees into paid parental leave we narrow the gender gap and get a more diverse workforce, boosting performance and strengthening our business."
These five other companies also offer expanded policies to support employees and their families.
Netflix has been ahead of the pack when it comes to paid parental leave . The streaming giant began offering a year of leave to employees back in 2015. The company also offers financial help to workers looking to grow their families through fertility treatments, surrogacy, or adoption, providing up to $75,000 in assistance.
Microsoft also offers a generous parental leave policy. According to its website, the company offers employees who give birth 20 weeks of paid leave, while non-birth partners can take 12 weeks off with pay. Those who expand their families through adoption and foster placements are also eligible. The company also offers resources for things like family counseling, parental and educational support, and even helps employees find referrals for child care.
Facebook offers up to 4 months of paid parental leave to employees. That leave can be broken up into different periods throughout the first year following the new addition. Facebook also began offering paid leave at the start of the pandemic to help parents with students learning remotely.
Alphabet is the parent company of Google, and it's been offering a strong paid parental leave policy since 2007. The company reportedly offers parents 18 weeks off to welcome a new child. The company also offered up to 14 weeks of paid leave for families amid the pandemic.
Etsy revealed its paid parental leave policy back in 2016, giving 26 weeks of paid leave for new parents regardless of gender. "We want to support and enable parents, regardless of their gender, to play equal roles in building successful companies and nurturing their families," the company said at the time.
This is just a small sampling of companies with strong paid parental leave programs, and we know that only a tiny fraction of Americans have access to such policies. To that end, Motherly is among nearly 200 businesses calling on Congressional leaders to work with the Biden administration to pass legislation to create a lasting federal paid family leav e program. Real change—the sort that makes a difference for all workers, and helps combat racial, class, and gender inequalities in America—has to come from the federal level, and we are so ready to see that happen.