- In a bid to retain current employees and attract new hires, Lululemon will now offer gender-neutral paid parental leave to full-time U.S.-based employees, Bloomberg reported.
- Employees, who are considered full-time by the athletics wear company if they work 24 hours per week, will be eligible for three months of leave after two years at the company, while employees with five or more years behind them will be eligible for six months, according to Bloomberg.
- The Bloomberg report cited that about 60% of Lululemon's 13,400 workers are U.S. based, and of those employees, the majority of full-time workers have been with the company for at least two years. One-fifth have worked there five or more years.
As with flexible work options and wellness benefits, progressive parental leave policies can make the difference for job seekers looking at benefits packages as the deciding factor in their search — and help retain workers who might otherwise have to leave their positions entirely. Recent Mercer research revealed that employers are catching on, too, with 40% now offering gender-neutral paid parental leave to workers (up from 25% in 2015). Employers like PwC and H&M have taken a generous approach to the benefit, with PwC offering a back-to-work benefit to help new parents transition and H&M extending paid parental leave to part-time workers, too.
For employers who want to practice what they preach when it comes to diversity and inclusion, instituting an equal paid parental leave policy for all genders — and encouraging male employees to use it — will affirm a commitment to gender equality. Gender inclusive parental policies can help shrink the gender pay gap by giving fathers the time to help mothers with the unpaid labor of child care — labor that can set women back in their career development.
As the U.S. is one of few countries without a national parental leave policy, U.S.-based employers are largely on their own in navigating a policy that works for them (outside the myriad paid leave laws sprouting in cities and states). Employers can consult the Family Medical Leave Act for guidance, but codifying even more generous policies might keep more women in the U.S. labor force, too.