- Bloomberg LP, the Manhattan-based multinational mass media corporation, has expanded its parental leave policy for primary caregivers from 18 to 26 weeks.
- The leave is fully paid and gender neutral, the company said in a statement. Leave is allowed after the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. Bloomberg has previously said that its parental leave policies are among "the most generous" of U.S. news companies.
- The policy is effective immediately and also permits a phase-in period of one day off a week for 10 consecutive weeks immediately following the employee's return to work. Bloomberg said it provides secondary caregivers with four weeks of fully paid leave.
A six-month leave policy has been shown to deliver positive benefits to the health and development of children, according to research cited by Steven Rice, CHRO at The Bill & Melinda Gates' Foundation, which recently reduced its 52-week policy to 26 weeks.
While the leave policy previously in place at the Gates Foundation was, perhaps, one of the longer leave periods offered by an employer, many organizations are increasing parental, sick and family leave for employees in their own ways. Earlier this year, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, announced that new parents can take up to six months of paid family leave. Still, paid family leave policies are not yet the norm as less than half of employers (40%) offer paid parental leave for birth and non-birth parents, according to Mercer's 2018 Survey on Absence and Disability Management. In addition, at least one employer ran into trouble after questioning primary caregivers' status because of their gender.
Adequate parental leave isn't just an issue for families with infants and young children. Caregiving responsibilities can hit workers at any time and any age. In fact, three in four employees say they have some type of caregiving responsibility, according to research from Harvard Business School. Employers competing for workers from diverse backgrounds with in-demand skills may be able to distinguish themselves by adopting flexible and paid family leave policies.