The Washington Post to offer 20 weeks of paid parental leave

The Washington Post is significantly expanding paid leave benefits for its employees, adding to a growing list of employers that are beefing up family-friendly perks in a hot job market.

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 company’s employee union says it hopes the “move will encourage all new parents to take the time they need.”

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“For years, the company’s limited parental leave of just four weeks forced parents to use sick time or vacation time during the crucial first months of their children’s lives,” The Washington Post Guild wrote in a blog post. “For couples at The Post, who had to divide the limited leave offered, these policies were particularly burdensome.”

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The news organization joins a growing number of employers that are adding or expanding paid leave benefits for their employees.

The J.M. Smucker Company just announced that beginning Jan. 1, it will give new parents 12 weeks of paid leave following the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. also announced a new paid parental leave program for its employees, providing six weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a new child.

Related: How 3 companies are helping employees on their parenting journey

Media company Bloomberg earlier this year expanded its fully paid parental leave program to 26 weeks from 18 weeks for primary caregivers.

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Overall, around 27% of employers offer paid parental leave benefits, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. Industry experts say that offering such a benefit not only helps employees, but also the company at large.

“In addition to being the right thing to do for our people, we believe these updates will be beneficial for our business, as they will allow employees to better focus on their professional responsibilities and continued development when they return to work,” Jill Penrose, senior vice president of human resources and corporate communications at Smucker’s, said recently.

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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.