Finding The Sweet Spot For Parental Leave

Posted March 1, 2019 by Mary McGinley

Giving new parents and caregivers adequate time for family leave is an important part of any employee benefits package. Some companies, of course, are more generous than others when it comes time to take care of family needs. It can be a balancing act for companies to determine how much time off is enough and how much is too much.

According to an article appearing on the SHRM website, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced that they would be reducing its parental leave policy from 52 weeks to 26 weeks. The Gates Foundation’s chief of HR Steven Rice said that after careful monitoring of the program that the non-profit implemented in 2015, feedback gained during the time period showed that having a year off proved to be disruptive to work colleagues and substitute workers. Further, it left those on extended leave had a more difficult time getting back up to speed once they returned to work.

The new six-month family leave that the Gates Foundation is now offering workers includes a $20,000 stipend to cover childcare costs for when parents do return to work.

Six months of parental leave is generous for any workplace to offer to workers. Most of the tech giants including Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and others have found the ideal amount of time given to workers for parental leave is between 4 and 6 months. There is less disruption to teams and coworkers and less turnover for those organizations who give just the right amount of leave to workers. Google just recently increased its parental leave policy from 12 weeks to 18 weeks and found mothers choosing to leave the company reduced by 50%.