8 Parental Leave Policies That Work for Startups

For startups on a tight budget, a generous paid leave isn't always an option, but it's also important to support your team members as they go through major life changes. These eight founders have found flexible policies that work for their companies.

A. Open Door Policy


My team members know that I'm flexible with their schedules, especially when it comes to life events like maternity or paternity leave. I try to establish an open door policy for them to come to me at any time with issues such as taking time off for life events. I try to be fair and have worked a policy of paid leave into my budget for just this occasion. - Rob Fulton, AudioLumin™

A. Explicit Policy


Our policy is two months of paid leave for maternity and three weeks of paid leave within the first six months for paternity. I wanted to show our long-term commitment to our employees as they go through major life changes. Employees sometimes struggle to step away at startups with flexible leave policies; our explicit policy ensures they can actually take the time off to bond with their child. - AJ Shankar, Everlaw

A. Not a Policy, but an Approach


We don't have a maternity/paternity policy; we have an approach. Instead of having a specific allowance of days or weeks off, we work with each employee to develop a plan that fits their needs as professionals and as parents. In some cases, this means more flexible working hours, working from home or giving the option for part-time employment for both fathers and mothers. - Dan Golden, Be Found Online

A. Paid Parental Leave


We have two months paid maternity leave and one and a half months paid paternity leave. Our HR director put together a comprehensive paid time off plan when our startup grew past 20 people. Before, we had an unlimited time off plan, which made teammates hesitant to take vacations. The founders worked with our HR director to build our policy, incorporating feedback from our teammates and other startups. - Nanxi Liu, Enplug

A. Freedom and Flexibility


In our office, we do not restrict the amount of days you can take off for vacation nor do we limit the days off for maternity/paternity leave. The moments right after having a child are incredibly important, and we provide each employee the freedom (and encouragement) to decide the amount of time they need to take off in order to fully enjoy the first special moments with their child. - David Tomas, Cyberclick

A. General Policy


We offer one month of paid leave to new parents, because we understand how important and challenging those first few weeks are. We want our employees to be happy so that they stay with us long-term, and part of that is establishing a work-life balance. Helping them become parents is part of establishing respect for family life and making it part of our work culture. - Ty Morse, Songwhale

A. No Fixed Policy


Since we're 100 percent remote, but also bootstrapped, what we can't offer in paid leave we can more than make up for in flexibility. Our employees know that their jobs will still be there waiting for them when they're ready to come back -- not just in cases of maternity/paternity leave, but also in cases of accidents, family emergencies, etc. We're set up so they can work the hours that their health permits. - Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

A. Support for Those That Support Your Business


As as entrepreneur, it's important to be mindful of the human element. We currently offer two weeks of paid leave and up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The key to a successful business is to not only keep your customers happy but your employees happy as well. If you focus on a better experience for both parties, it is sure to help fuel your business. - Hesam Meshkat, Guzu

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.