A full year of paid leave for some parents is great news—but we’re rooting for the Virgin founder to go all the way.
We already knew that business mogul Sir Richard Branson is an innovator. But now he’s taking that big-thinking to parental leave, announcing Wednesday his company, Virgin, will offer some of the company’s new parents, including fathers, a full year of paid leave. Here’s why he says he’s making the change:
“As a father and now a granddad to three wonderful grandchildren, I know how magical the first year of a child’s life is but also how much hard work it takes,”
“I’m delighted that we can offer this support to our staff so that they can enjoy parental leave to the full as we continue to our work in changing business for good.” Branson added:
“If you take care of your employees they will take care of your business.”
A top business leader acknowledging how much work is encompassed in new parenthood and arguing that supporting parents is good for the bottom line—what’s not to love?
It’s a great leave policy, “if you can get it,” reports The Washington Post’s Danielle Paquette, who notes, “to qualify, male and female employees must live in London or Geneva and have worked at least four years for Virgin Management, the company’s investment arm. Workers with less than two years of experience will receive 25 percent.”
That qualification means that only .2 percent of Branson’s employees are eligible for it. “The company said only about 140 will be able to take the full amount of paid leave,” the Post reports, and that cuts out thousands of his lower wage employees who might benefit the most from paid leave.
C’mon, Sir. If a full year of paid parental leave is good policy for your dedicated corporate employees, then surely it’s good for new parents working around the world on your behalf.