- Goldman Sachs is increasing its parental leave to 20 weeks paid time off for all new parents through birth, surrogacy or adoption — regardless of caregiver status — according to a company memo issued Monday and first obtained by Yahoo Finance.
- Several of the bank's Wall Street peers — JPMorgan, Citi, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley — offer 16 weeks to the primary caregiver but less to the secondary caregiver, Bloomberg reported. Bank of America offers 16 weeks to both.
- The change, which took effect Friday, came in response to a recent employee survey, according to eFinancialCareers. The bank is also: doubling, to $20,000, the stipend it pays for employees' egg retrieval and donation; boosting its adoption and surrogacy stipends; and offering four weeks of paid family leave for employees to care for ill family members.
New-parent employees have accused Wall Street banks of gender bias in policies that distinguish between primary and secondary caregivers. JPMorgan Chase paid $5 million in May to settle a discrimination claim alleging men were discouraged from taking "primary caregiver" status. Goldman's move may help combat the perception that taking long paternity leave is detrimental to banking careers.
The policy change continues a sharp turnaround even within Goldman over the past four years. The bank's parenting leave for non-primary caregivers doubled from two weeks to four in June 2015, according to Business Insider. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon told Yahoo Finance on Monday that the move to increase leave for all new parents to 20 weeks was in part focused on attracting talent to the organization in a competitive environment.
Paid leave is a critical benefit for employers to offer. According to Mercer's 2018 Survey On Absence and Disability Management about 40% of employers offer paid parental leave for both birth and non-birth parents, a number that increased from 25% of employers in 2015. Employers in the Mercer survey had not increased the amount of leave they offered employees.
The length of leave offered by employers varies from company to company, but more employers are lengthening the amount of time they give employees for parental leave to compete in a tight talent market. Earlier this year, Smucker announced 12 weeks of paid parental leave. In February, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shortened its offering from 12 months down to a still higher than average 6 months of leave. And Ernst & Young offers new mothers and fathers 16 weeks of paid leave, a move the company says helped reduce turnover of female employees.