2015 was an important year in terms of parental leave policies. Announcements by Netflix, Adobe, Microsoft, Amazon, and other companies highlighted the importance to both companies and employees of ensuring smooth transitions into parenting. Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Unfinished Business zeroed in on what’s at stake when it comes to balancing parental roles and work life.
The big question is: Will these new policies be successful?
Generous leave policies on paper don’t always translate into parental leave being encouraged by the culture of a company, and the US is still far behind the rest of the world in terms of leave policies. There are several ways that employers can help ensure that their employees really do take the leave they’re offered. And now, there are a few new companies that work with organizations directly to make sure the process goes well. Here are four companies helping change workplace culture when it comes to supporting employees who need to take parental leave.
When Anna Steffeney asked her tech employer for some pay-protected time off when pregnant with her second child, she felt she was “faced with a binary choice: work or family. Simply put,” Steffeny said, “I didn’t feel supported.” She left her company and founded LeaveLogic, a Seattle-based business devoted to helping other companies negotiate leave policies through a software platform.
The program is based on the idea that employees make advanced plans for their leave, and the security that they can have their private questions addressed without fear of repercussions in the workplace. In 2014, the business was invited to the White House Summit on Working Families, where President Obama highlighted the importance of ensuring successful parental leave policies.
Started in 2005, Talking Talent offers in-person or virtual webinars, as well as an online coaching platform for employees taking maternity leave. It works with Fortune 500 companies and “specializes in maternity transition coaching to retain, engage, and progress key female talent.”
Center for Parental Leave Leadership
The Center for Parental Leave Leadership performs assessments and trainings for managers. The center places a high value on the skills required of parenting. According to the website,
“We began to understand the importance of efficiency in a different way, balancing multiple priorities, making trade-off decisions, and developing new self-discipline. We also recognized that the typical feeling of being lost and even lonely navigating new terrain, could be helped and supported through networking with trained professionals.”
Emissaries, a new California-based company, helps “connect companies that offer excellent maternity, paternity, and family leaves with vetted, seasoned freelancers.” The goal is to help employers source talent to cover work while another employee is on parental leave.