Advance Financial adds paid family leave for new parents

Weeks after announcing it added a student loan repayment benefit for its employees, Advance Financial says it also added a paid leave benefit in an effort to best support its workforce.

Employees, both men and women, who have been employed at the Nashville-based financial services company at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours are eligible to receive up to six consecutive weeks of paid parental leave following the birth, placement or adoption of a child.

The company added the new leave policy at the beginning of the year, but just made the change public. So far, 12 of its 1,110 employees have used the benefit, the company says.

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“The birth or adoption of a child is one of life’s biggest milestones,” says Tina Hodges, Advance Financial’s chief executive and chief experience officer. “We want to support our employees through every significant stage in their lives, so we’re happy to provide both mothers and fathers the ability to stay home with their new addition during that important transitional period.”

The program launched alongside a student loan repayment program. Advance Financial will now repay up to $12,000 of each employee’s debt over six years, EBN reported earlier this month. Its program, through provider Gradifi, also includes options for employees to refinance or consolidate their student debt and receive counseling on how to eliminate the rest of their debt.

In addition, to help attract and retain workers, Advance Financial offers paid time off to volunteer, an onsite nurse practitioner and 401(k) matching plans.

Advance Financial is the latest employer to add paid parental leave.

The number of employers offering the benefit jumped to 27% in 2018 from 17% in 2016, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. A number of companies have moved to update their paid parental leave policies. For example, retailer VF Corporation is now offering employees eight weeks of leave. XPO Logistics offers primary caregivers six weeks of leave and secondary caregivers two weeks.

Large organizations, and particularly those in the tech industry, are more likely to offer paid parental leave and other family benefits than smaller employers, research indicates. Facebook, for instance, gives new moms and dads four months of leave at 100% pay. Twitter gives 20 weeks of paid parental leave for both parents.

Google recently extended paid parental leave, sick leave and other benefits to its contractor workers.

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