We recently took a look at some of our benefits to see if there were improvements we could make in support of our efforts to grow Atomic in diversity and numbers. Having a diverse team makes Atomic better and stronger, and we want to grow the number of women we employ while continuing to make Atomic a welcoming and supportive place for all Atoms to thrive.
Coming out of that review, our top priority was to strengthen our overall parental leave policy. We believe it’s important to offer our employees the opportunity to spend time with a new child in their family. And having a meaningful parental leave benefit helps us attract and retain all the great Atoms who make Atomic strong.
This post is the last in a series about addressing unconscious bias and making Atomic a more rewarding place for everyone to work.
- Diversity for Diversity’s Sake? – 9 Reasons We Want to Be Gender Diverse
- Writing a Gender-Neutral Developer Job Description
- Avoiding Bias in our Job Interviews
- Toward Fair Pay – Evolving how we Evaluate & Compensate Employees
- Improving Our Support for New Parents
Why Parental Leave Matters
Since 2007, Atomic has offered partially paid medical leave to women following the birth of their babies, along with one week of paid “new child” leave for all birth and adoptive parents. We were a very small company at the time, and that was a good place to start.
This time around, we challenged ourselves to think about what parental leave could aspire to be from the perspective of the newborn baby or the newly adopted child. How great would it be if their mom or dad had the support they needed to be their primary caregiver* for the first 1-3 months at home, without the stress and worry of lost income during that crucial bonding time?
It was sobering to see the Department of Labor state that only 12 percent of U.S. private sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employer. Yet several studies confirm that the benefits of paid leave for children, mothers and fathers are real.
CIO Magazine’s article Lack of Parental Leave Drives Employee Turnover points to research showing that paid parental leave has a positive effect on retention, engagement, and productivity:
Research from the National Partnership for Women and Families supports the assertion that when workers don’t have access to paid leave, they are more likely to need to leave their jobs. Paid leave reduces the associated turnover costs of search, recruitment, loss of productivity, training and also encourages valued workers to stay not just in the labor force, but with the same employer.
Crafting a Paid Parental Leave Policy
We benchmarked parental leave policies from 12 firms and organizations, ranging in size, sector, and geographic location. A majority of the firms, similar in size to Atomic Object, offered less overall paid leave for women (compared to our existing benefit) and offered no paid parental leave for men.
After careful consideration, we decided to dramatically increase our paid medical leave for birth moms and paid parental leave for all parents who are their child’s primary caregiver.
Full-time and part-time employees are eligible for paid parental leave. Birth mothers receive paid medical leave for 6-8 weeks following the birth of their baby and another 1-4 weeks of parental leave depending on whether or not they are their child’s primary caregiver.
New fathers and parents adopting children receive 1-4 weeks of paid parental leave depending on whether they will be their child’s primary or secondary caregiver.**
Our new and improved parental leave benefit puts us in good company alongside much bigger firms, in terms of the amount of paid parental leave offered to both women and men who are primary caregivers.* This is good for our employees and their families, and it is good for Atomic.
Read more about the power of paid parental leave:
- More hands to rock the cradle
- American Business Should Take the Lead on Paid Parental Leave
- The Economic Benefits of Paid Parental Leave
* A primary caregiver is defined as “the person solely responsible for child’s care most hours of the week.”
** A secondary caregiver is defined as “the employee whose spouse, partner or parent of the child is the primary child caregiver most hours of the week.”