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This Company Just Gave Its Workers 16 Weeks of Paid Leave

Photograph by Twenty20

Yet another U.S. corporation has stepped up. Deloitte, which employees 76,000 in professional services and consulting, announced its employees are now eligible for 16 weeks of leave at full pay for any kind of family caregiving.

Their paid leave policy covers maternity and paternity leave, and also caregiving for an elderly parent, sick child or partner.

Deloitte's new benefits are part of ever-increasing paid benefits among some of the bigger and more recognizable employers in the U.S., such as movie and TV series streaming service Netflix, warehouse giant Amazon and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. All have developed their own generous policies around paid leave in order to attract—and keep—qualified workers.

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Sixteen weeks—in other words, four months—for maternity leave is better than most women get but still falls far short of national leave policies in Canada and around the globe. In a press release touting its new policy, Deloitte explains that women with two months of short-term disability will actually get a total of six months of paid leave.

“By adding support for eldercare, spousal care and children beyond the birth stage, Deloitte’s family leave program provides our people with the time they need to focus on their families in important times of need,” said Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert. “Leaders often discuss how they can become more innovative, and one of the things that makes a big difference is to focus beyond business products and services and think about their people and the fabric of organizational culture.”

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Current federal policy requires that all companies of a certain size offer 14 weeks of leave to any worker who needs to take time off to care for a loved one. Companies must hold the job for that worker, but are not required to offer any portion of that worker's salary during the time of leave. Deloitte's new policy means workers can take up to 16 weeks and draw a full salary to recover from childbirth or to care for a child, spouse or parents needing support.

In a recent survey of U.S. workers, 88 percent of the respondents wanted a broader workplace leave policy—one that went beyond leave after having a baby.

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