On Monday, social change platform Change.org announced a parental leave policy for its employees that will offer all parents -- dads, moms, biological, adoptive or otherwise -- 18 weeks of fully-paid leave.
The company hopes that other employers will follow its lead.
As David Hanrahan, the Head of Global HR at Change.org writes in a HuffPost blog post, "The state of parental leave in the U.S. sucks." He cites several statistics to back up his claim -- the U.S. is only one of three countries that doesn't mandate paid leave at the federal level. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides new mothers with 12 weeks of job protection after giving birth, but that does not include guaranteed pay.
Other tech companies do go beyond what the FMLA requires with generous policies. Google offers new mothers 18-22 weeks paid maternity leave; Facebook and Reddit allow all parents 17 weeks paid. However, Change.org hopes its campaign will encourage other businesses to follow suit. Hanrahan writes:
The challenge for CEOs and HR leaders is deciding whether to wait for the government to mandate full pay for parental leave, or to lead on leave themselves. Should your employees be penalized with reduced pay for taking protected parental leave? From both a practical and emotional level, I believe the answer is no. It's time for U.S. companies to set policies that do right by their employees and reflect the evolving notion of family.
And so, Change.org has created the hashtag #ChangeLeave to spread the word. Following the announcement today, they will contact business leaders to explain why generous leave policies are mutually beneficial for employees and employers.
"It is our hope that by starting this conversation and leading on this that parents (and concerned people) around the country will use the Change.org platform for apply pressure on employers to do the right thing," a company representative told The Huffington Post.