- Microsoft's U.S. suppliers will be required to provide their workers with paid parental leave, the tech giant announced. Company officials said the benefit, as an extension of its paid time off (PTO) policy, is recognition of the contribution suppliers' employees make to Microsoft's success. The company required suppliers to offer their employees PTO three years ago.
- Suppliers must offer their employees at least 12 weeks of paid parental leave, up to $1,000 a week. The change applies to all suppliers' employees who take off time for the birth or adoption of a child. Suppliers with 50 or more workers that do substantial work for Microsoft must comply with the change. The new requirement doesn't replace state laws with more generous paid parental leave provisions or prevent suppliers from expanding their paid parental benefits, Microsoft noted.
- The move comes ahead of family leave legislation in Washington state that will go into effect in 2020. Microsoft said it opted to move before that to ensure that "thousands of valued contributors outside of Washington" aren't left behind.
More big name companies that heavily rely on contracted companies for various services have begun considering the business and ethical implications of the treatment of those workers. Survey Monkey turned heads when it announced it would work with contracted vendors to provide benefits to those employees that were similar to the ones offered full-time Survey Monkey staff. Microsoft is taking a similar tack in this approach. It's one way the companies can signal their intent both internally and externally — making a stand that could set them apart from competitors.
"We hope to increasingly see companies both here in Silicon Valley and across the country take on more responsibility and ensure that workers are treated fairly and valued for the contribution they make — whether they be full-time employees or part of an extended workforce," Becky Cantieri, chief people officer of SurveyMonkey, previously told HR Dive.
Paid parental leave is having a moment, as well. Several companies raised the number of weeks of paid parental leave, extended more time off to fathers, or added caregiver coverage. Studies show that paid family leave in general is a much sought-after benefit by employees and job seekers, and that employers with generous benefits often end up on best-places-to-work lists. Employers can expect more companies to add or expand their paid parental leave policies as they compete heavily for talent and the demand for paid leave benefits grows.
Just as in Washington state, a number of states and municipalities have passed their own versions of paid leave policies. One major downside of state and local paid leave mandates is the patchwork of rules employers must abide by, especially those operating in multiple states — and that patchwork will likely only get more complex in coming years.