More companies roll out gender-neutral paid parental-leave policies

More employers are turning to gender-neutral paid parental-leave programs to recruit and retain talent while better supporting working parents.

Goldman Sachs and Pilot Flying J both recently announced new programs for their employees, joining a cache of employers that have recently rolled out or enhanced leave benefits in a hot job market.

Goldman Sachs now offers 20 weeks of paid leave to all parents, regardless of gender or caregiver status, the bank says.

Meanwhile, Pilot Flying J, a travel-center operator with roughly 28,000 employees, now offers full- and part-time employees with six weeks of fully paid parental leave. Employees must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months to be eligible for the benefit, the company says. The benefit kicked in Sept. 1.

RelatedIt’s time to empower modern families with parental leave

Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J, calls the new benefit a “critical” addition.

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Pilot Flying J cited data from the U.S. Department of Labor, which found that just 17% of all civilian workers have access to paid family leave. In the retail industry, where many employees are part-time and hourly, the number is even lower, at 7%. In addition, seven in 10 fathers in the U.S. who took parental leave only used 10 days of leave or less.

The two companies join a growing number of employers that have announced enhanced paid parental-leave benefits for 2020. The Washington Post recently announced that, beginning Jan. 1, all new parents employed at the newspaper will be eligible to receive 20 weeks of paid time off following the birth or adoption of a child. That’s up from the four weeks of paid time off the company previously gave parents who worked there for at least one year. The J.M. Smucker Company last month said it will give new parents 12 weeks of paid leave following the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child beginning Jan. 1, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced a new six-week paid parental-leave program for both mothers and fathers.

Overall, around 27% of employers offer paid parental-leave benefits, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. But not every company offers the same length of time off for both mothers and fathers. Fewer offer those policies to part-time workers.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.