The Washington Post to offer 20 weeks of paid parental leave

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The Washington Post is expanding its paid parental leave policy. Starting next year, all new parents at the news organization will be able to take 20 weeks off to bond with a new child, up from the four weeks of leave the company previously offered.

“For years, the company's limited parental leave of just four weeks forced parents to use sick time or vacation time during the crucial first months of their children’s lives. For couples at the Post, who had to divide the limited leave offered, these policies were particularly burdensome,” The Washington Post Guild, the company’s employee union, wrote in a statement about the updated benefit.

See also: Bloomberg expands gender-neutral paid parental leave

The Post is not alone — across the board employers are boosting paid parental leave policies. J.M. Smucker recently updated its benefit to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for employees. Hannaford Supermarkets and financial services company Sun Life also made changes to their paid parental leave policies.

Although employers are making strides, less than half of companies offer paid parental leave. About 27% of employers provide the benefit to workers, up from 17% in 2016, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management.

The Washington Post’s new policy is comparable to some other news organizations. The Wall Street Journal also offers employees 20 weeks of paid parental leave and The New York Times offers 16 weeks of paid parental leave for mothers who give birth vaginally, 18 weeks for mothers who give birth via C-section and 10 weeks for non-birth parents, NiemanLab reported. Bloomberg updated its policy in May to 26 weeks of paid parental leave for primary caregivers, from 16 weeks.

See also: Hannaford Supermarkets adds paid parental leave benefit

Adding paid parental leave was a high priority, the Post's guild says. Moving forward, the union plans on continuing to advocate for other changes, including eliminating pay disparity, diversifying the newsroom, improving healthcare benefits and supporting worker mental health. Some employees at the Post took to social media to show their support of the company’s new policy.

“This is big news [and] more evidence that union efforts at particular outlets benefit the entire industry,” Hamza Shaban, a technology reporter for the Post, wrote in a tweet.

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