Most of us already know that America lags shamefully behind other developed nations in supporting pregnant women and new parents. Sure, it’s illegal to fire a woman for being pregnant and the Family and Medical Leave Act mandates that companies give employees 12 weeks of leave after the birth of a baby – if the company is big enough and if the employee has been there long enough. But don’t count on being paid during leave unless your company offers that of its own volition and don’t be surprised if companies try to pull funny business to purge pregnant women and new moms from the system, laws or no laws.
So can you imagine how awesome it would be to work for a place that offered 14 weeks of paid maternity leave followed by DOUBLE your salary during the your first six weeks back at work? This is the new maternity leave policy enacted by an Australian insurance company called Insurance Australia Group.
Australian maternity leave law provides for 18 weeks of leave where the employee receives the equivalent of minimum wage during that time and a parent can take up to a year of unpaid leave and still have a job waiting for them when they return (makes those 12 weeks of unpaid leave US law provides seem pretty stingy, huh?). So, in some ways, this policy at IAG Is good for the company in that it bringing employees back from leave sooner and contributes to staff retention by making working parenthood a bit easier.
It’s always encouraging to see private industry taking the needs of families seriously and making policies that help parents balance the need to work and he need to take care of the children. Here’s hoping that IAG’s policies rub off on other companies – on both sides of the pacific!
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