Sir Richard Branson knows the value of a good employee, and a good parent. The Virgin Group founder is offering new parents, dads included, of his Virgin Management company up to a full year of paid leave to raise their newborns right.
I believe if you take care of your employees they will take care of your business.
As a father and now a proud granddad to three wonderful grandchildren, I know how magical the first year of a child’s life is but also how much hard work it takes.
I’m delighted that we can offer this support to our staff so that they can enjoy parental leave to the full.
The policy covers employees for a full year at a percentage of their salary; 25 percent after their first year increasing to full pay at four years of service.
The idea of offering employees outstanding benefits as a reward for loyalty is something that’s lost in far too many American businesses. After the same four years of service Virgin requires to receive a full year of paid parental leave, American food service employees, for example, can look forward to 40 cent raises, no paid sick or vacation days, mandatory holiday hours and free training on how to get Medicaid and food stamps instead of employer-based insurance.
When it comes to mandatory paid parental leave, the US ranks among the lowest in the world:
Paid leave for new parents isn’t just a nice benefit, it’s essential to newborns. An article by Mom’sRising.org lays out some facts that demonstrate just how important:
- Right now only 13 (!!!) percent of Americans have access to paid family leave through their employer and only 37% have personal medical leave provided through an employer.
- Although the current Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows some employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, it only covers about 60 percent of employees.
- A quarter of all poverty spells in the United States are because of having a baby.
- The U.S is one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid leave to new mothers.
- Paid family leave has been shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20% (and the U.S. ranks a low 37th of all countries in infant mortality).
- Paid leave improves worker retention, which saves employers money through reduced turnover cost.
Unfortunately those at the top see paid leave not as a great way to retain employees, but rather a drain on their profit margin. In America there is little that is more important than the bottom line, and our mothers, fathers and newborns are paying the price.