Cisco updates parental leave policy to include grandparents, caregivers

Multinational technology company Cisco updated its global leave program to be more inclusive for family members caring for a new baby, as well as provide extra emergency time off for its employees.

The new policy terminates maternity and paternity leave, instead expanding the firm’s definition of parent to “main and supporting caregiver” — a gender-neutral term, the company says — for its full- and part-time employees. In the United States, main caregivers will now receive 13 weeks of consecutive leave, up from just four weeks, and unlimited paid time off for all appointments. The updated policy includes the existing benefit of four weeks of leave with time off for appointments for supporting caregivers, as well.

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Pedestrians walk past the Cisco Systems Inc. sign outside of their Headquarters in San Jose, California, U.S., on Tuesday, June 12, 2011. Cisco Systems Inc., the largest networking-equipment company, may cut as many as 10.000 jobs, or about 14 percent of its workforce, to revive profit growth, according to two people familiar with plans. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg *** Local Caption ***

Grandparents will also now receive three days of PTO following a baby joining the family.

The policy went into effect Nov. 1.

“We’re finding new and better ways to support our employees so they can be the best at home and at work,” says Shari Slate, vice president of inclusion and collaboration at Cisco. “The goal is that everyone feels respected and supported fairly and consistently.”
The expanded caregiver leave benefit has been rolled out to 37,000 U.S. employees, while more than 33,000 additional employees globally will receive the benefit in fiscal year 2019.

See also: How employers can better support the caregivers in their workforces

Cisco’s new leave policy also includes additional time off for emergencies. The company says it recognizes that unexpected situations may arise and employees need time to give it their undivided attention. The emergency time off request, which can be for incidents like a tree falling through an employee’s roof or a family member falling ill, is approved by a manager at his or her discretion.

The emergency time off benefit varies.

“Generally, [emergency time off] is intended for short periods of time off and not expected to be more than four weeks per year,” says Gaby Thompson, senior vice president, total rewards and acquisitions, at Cisco. “However, we will always discuss the employee’s needs and support them in the best way for their circumstances.”

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