Medtronic bolsters paid family leave benefits

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Medical device company Medtronic implemented a new family care leave policy to better attract and retain its workforce.

The company’s 40,000 part-time and full-time employees, who are dispersed across the country, will have access to six weeks of paid leave for a range of family care leave needs. Employees can take leave to bond with a new child or care for a sick family member, for example.

The benefit is in addition to maternity benefits for birth mothers, such as a two week healthy pregnancy program. The program, which is offered through Medtronic’s health plan, awards birth moms with two weeks of paid time off. Birth mothers can receive up to 18 weeks of fully-paid leave with all the available benefits.

“We want to support employees who had other life events [and] need to exit the workforce for a period of time,” says Denise King, vice president of benefits COE and total rewards operations at Medtronic. “We wanted to make sure that they had the company support to exit the workforce for six weeks.”

Previously, Medtronic offered five to seven weeks of paid leave for birth parents, one week for non-birth parents, and four weeks for compassionate leave to care for or support a terminally ill family member.

The company says it wanted to make the policy inclusive, rather than focused on baby bonding.

See also: Bristol-Myers Squibb boosts parental leave, expands caregiver benefits

However, the updated policy stemmed from the Medtronic Women’s Network, an employee resource group of women who wanted just that.

The female employees had asked for a better policy to improve the baby bonding experience, and the company took the needs of the workforce and benchmarked them against what other employers offered to create the benefit, says Ken Fairchild, vice president of global rewards for Medtronic.

“We knew this was important to do because we were hearing about it from our employees,” he says.

Fairchild says the company purposely didn’t establish a financial ROI, but rather chose to look at the soft benefits of a paid time off policy: attraction, retention and improved employee engagement.

“It’s the intangible things that will be very important and powerful,” he says.

The company also upped its infertility benefit from $15,000 to $25,000, King says. Medtronic also limits the number of embryos that are implanted and directs employees to Centers for Excellence facilities for better outcomes, she says.

Medtronic offers adoption or surrogacy fee reimbursement for $5,000 per child or surrogate, with a limit of $10,000 per year, and a “robust EAP” that can connect employees to child and elder care providers.

All FMLA-eligible employees can access the new benefits, which went into effect on May 1.

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