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A new trend has taken over tech firms such as IBM, Microsoft, Netflix – and now Adobe.
In what is being seen as a critical move to retain at-risk talent, Adobe has announced up to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave for staff in the US, in addition to changes in other benefits such as family care leave.
As a result, effective November 1 this year, employees can avail up to 10 weeks of paid medical leave for surgery, childbirth, medical emergency or illness.
In addition, parental leave of up to 16 weeks paid time is available for primary caregivers, including parents through surrogacy, adoption or foster care.
Employees will also get up to four weeks of paid family care leave to look after a sick family member.
Adobe’s senior vice president of people and place, Donna Morris, said in a blog post: “Caring for yourself and your family at home helps you be your best at work. But in the U.S., government mandates for paid leave are currently slim to nonexistent.”
“Now we will better support all of them (employees), across a spectrum of age, gender and experience, with a diverse mix of family needs and situations. The investment is unquestionably worth it.”
“We join an industry movement to better support our employees while striving towards increased workforce diversity.”
The “industry movement” she wrote of refers to the new family care policies introduced by Microsoft, Netflix and IBM in support of new parents.
Just last week, Microsoft announced paid parental leave of up to 12 weeks for new parents, also effective November 1 for employees in the US, going up to 20 weeks of maternity leave for birth mothers.
In addition, birth mothers can now avail short-term disability leave during the two weeks prior to their scheduled due date. Alongside, the company has added two new paid holidays to its 2016 calendar, Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day, totalling to 12 paid holidays (which includes two floating holidays).
Kathleen Hogan, executive vice president of HR at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post: “As we ask our employees to bring their “A” game to work every day to achieve our mission, we believe it’s our responsibility to create an environment where people can do their best work.
“A key component of this is supporting our employees with benefits that matter most to them.”
Netflix took it one step further to pioneer an unlimited leave policy for new mothers and fathers for the first year after the child’s birth or adoption, also announced last week, applicable to employees in US and Canada.
“We’ll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay. Each employee gets to figure out what’s best for them and their family, and then works with their managers for coverage during their absences,” stated Tawni Cranz, the firm’s chief talent officer, in a blog post.
“Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home. This new policy, combined with our unlimited time off, allows employees to be supported during the changes in their lives and return to work more focused and dedicated.”
Another innovative benefit came from IBM last month, which will soon launch an express delivery service for mom travelling on business to send pumped breast milk back home to their babies.
“We are going to experiment with this and see how many women are interested,” says Barbara Brickmeier, vice president of benefits at IBM, in a Fortune story.
“As long as it appeals to a segment of our population and they feel that they can better balance their work and home, we will continue it.”
Notably, the United States has long been considered among the worst in developed nations for its paid maternal benefits, pegged at just 84 days.
These new policies may alleviate some of the issues new mothers face, but it is also anticipated that the moves will boost diversity figures at tech firms, which have admittedly been skewed in past reports.
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