Unum will soon offer its employees six weeks of paid parental leave in the company’s effort to help workers achiever greater work-life balance.
New moms and dads employed at the insurance company will be eligible for six weeks of paid time off to care for a newborn, or a child placed through adoption or foster care, at any time during the 12 months following birth, adoption or fostering.
Currently, the firm has no formal paid parental leave policy; parents use a combination of paid time off, FMLA and/or state leave, depending on residency, says Diane Garofalo, the firm’s senior vice president of corporate human resources. Birth mothers also use short-term disability.
The policy for Unum’s 10,000 employees will be implemented later this year, but Unum says it doesn’t have a specific date.
The change in policy, Garofalo says, is part of an effort to “help employees achieve greater work-life balance and to help ease their worries about raising their families.”
“Paid parental leave helps new parents adjust to their new family experience without being distracted by work obligations or financial concerns,” she says.
The leave benefits, adds Unum President and CEO Rick McKenney, also “aligns with the leave benefits that we provide for many of our customers.”
Unum is among the growing list of companies this year that already have made benefits improvements and provided bonuses and pay raises to their employees as the economy improves, federal taxes are cut and the labor market tightens. The tax reform bill, which slashed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, has prompted companies including Visa, Aflac and Peoples Bank to boost their 401(k) contributions. Meanwhile, Walmart, Starbucks and TIAA announced enhanced paid leave policies to begin the year.
Garofalo says Unum’s record financial performance helped spur the company’s decision to implement the paid parental leave policy.
Along with boosting its paid leave policy, Unum also announced it is enhancing its compensation program so that all employees earn at least $15 an hour across the U.S. The change will show up in paychecks on March 30.
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