BuzzFeed parental leave policy results in 95% retention rate

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Returning to work after parental leave can be a challenging transition for employees, and some end up not coming back at all. Since 2018, BuzzFeed has managed to achieve a 95% parental return-to-work rate by implementing progressive parental leave benefits .

As the media company’s employees are mostly millennials, family planning is becoming top of mind, says Hannah Wilkowski, global benefits manager at BuzzFeed. That’s why the company in 2018 decided to implement maternity benefit Maven — a women’s and family healthcare company that provides on-demand care and family benefits through its digital health platform.

“[Employees] explained how they felt like there weren't enough resources for them during this time.” Wilkowski says. “So having a resource to help with this transition was really, really important. We have so much great talent, and it would really be a shame to lose someone because they don't feel supported.”

BuzzFeed was able to boost its return-to-work rate to 95% of its employees returning after parental leave — well above the national average of 57%. The company offers 18 weeks of fully paid leave for primary caregivers, and six weeks for secondary caregivers.

“Before we utilized Maven, a lot of people would go out on leave and maybe just not come back,” Wilkowski says.

Maven provides employees with access to postpartum specialists, pediatricians and career coaching. The benefit also increased engagement, as Buzzfeed employees had more than 600 interactions with Maven providers in one year. It supports employees from start to finish — from the minute they find out they're pregnant to when they return to work. Maven also covers fertility — including IVF, egg freezing, surrogacy and adoption — and helps clients with navigating appointments and potential pregnancy losses.

Mary Beth Ferrante, a career coach at Maven, says that the platform makes it easy for her to directly connect with clients, as they can use it to book appointments with a coach or care provider and send them direct messages.

“We talk to [employees] about challenges that they might be having with their return to work, but are also then able to refer them to lactation consultants, an OB, pediatrician or a sleep consultant so they're able to get that wraparound support,” she says.

Keeping women in the workforce is also important from a gender and equality perspective.

“If we want to have more females in leadership roles and more equality at more senior levels, we have to support these key transitions in parents’ lives and in caregivers’ lives,” Ferrante says. “More women are the ones who take a step back and stay home with their children, so really recognizing that caregivers need support for them to stay working is a huge component in terms of retention.”

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Maternity leave Employee retention Fertility benefits Benefits technology