Last month, Johnson and Johnson announced its new parental leave policy that hopefully will be followed by all the other big companies in the United States. All J&J employees, who are new parents, will now have the opportunity to take eight additional weeks of paid leave during the first year of the family’s birth or adoption.
Under the old policy, which is the policy of most major companies, the non-birthing parent (fathers, adoptive parents, same sex couples who don’t give birth) could only take one week of paid leave to take care of the new born and the mother who gives birth. Moms who give birth could only take seven weeks (nine weeks if they had a C-section).
With the new policy parents who don’t give birth can take nine weeks of paid leave, and moms who give birth can take up to 17 weeks off… with pay!!!
And J&J’s employees don’t have to take the paid leave consecutively, providing even greater flexibility during that critical first year of a child’s life.
Other Big Companies Should Do The Same
Now that Johnson & Johnson took this huge first step in improving its parental leave policy, all other big companies should follow suit and provide the same benefits to its employees.
I understand that small companies probably could not afford to do this, but big corporations with thousands upon thousands of employees could certainly afford this move. It will not only make its employees happier, but it will also attract new and young talent who are deciding what is the best move for their family.
Other major corporations should not match this parental policy in order to compete with J&J, but because it is the right thing to do.
I think it is crazy that non-birthing parents only get one week to help out with the infant. New mothers are then left by themselves after one week to take care of a new born while healing from giving birth. Some couples have their families to help them out, but in this era where people move to new places, away from their families, many of them don’t have help.
Even though mothers are eligible for twelve weeks of unpaid leave due to the Family and Medical Leave Act, many families can’t afford to take any unpaid time off. These parents are forced to place their six week old baby in daycare in order to go back to work. And many times these mothers have not fully recovered from giving birth.
The benefits having an extra two months paid to spend with your baby are priceless: both new parents have more time to bond with the baby and with each other, the baby’s immune system is stronger by the time they are put into day care with lots of germ-infested kids, the mother has more time to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally, and is better prepared to handle the expectations at their job.
There is also less financial stress on the families because they don’t have to take unpaid time at the same time that all their expenses go up drastically. Not to mention the savings on the cost of daycare.
I really hope that other major corporations follow in the steps of J&J.
Let’s all call our H.R. representative and ask for a change in policy.