- Volvo Cars is rolling out a 24-week paid parental leave policy. The leave will be available to employees with at least one year of tenure in "all plants and offices" around the world beginning April 1, the company announced Tuesday.
- The company will compensate parents at 80% of their base pay for the duration of their leave, which can be taken anytime during the first three years of parenthood, a press release said.
- The leave is available to all parents. "We want to create a culture that supports equal parenting for all genders," Chief Executive Håkan Samuelsson said. "When parents are supported to balance the demands of work and family, it helps to close the gender gap and allows everyone to excel in their careers."
The pandemic kicked off a challenging season for working parents — a fact that's been widely reported. As the coronavirus eliminated in-person schooling and childcare, it strained the work-life relationship of many workers with families, especially mothers.
Many companies introduced flexibility to assist working parents in the wake of the pandemic. Benefits have ranged from paid time off to windowed work. While the coronavirus hastened such offerings, benefits akin to Volvo's recent program have been gaining traction for several years.
It's not just any form of family leave that's on the rise. Like Volvo, many employers have designed their leave options to be inclusive of mothers, fathers and any other type of caretaker. The J.M. Smucker Company, for example, introduced 12 weeks of paid leave for all employees following the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child in September 2019.
Parental leave options that prioritize mothers over fathers may contribute to gender inequality, according to a recent study in the Community, Work and Family journal. "When companies have gender unequal paid parental leave policies, they are signaling that mothers are the ones who should take time off while fathers are simply helpers or secondary parents, not to mention the dismissal of gay and lesbian couples," Davidson College Sociology Professor Gayle Kaufman previously told HR Dive.