Armonk, NY - IBM is the latest company to enhance its parental leave benefits. Last week, Big Blue extended its maternity leave from 14 weeks of paid time off to up to 20 weeks. It also includes eight weeks of short-term disability, having a baby qualifying as a temporary disability. IBM is also increasing paid parental leave for dads, partners and adoptive parents from six weeks to 12 weeks. Employees who became new parents anytime after November 2016 are eligible and have up to one year to take their paid leave.

Should employees’ children require special care and assistance, IBM will reimburse them up to $50,000 for any services related to mental, physical or developmental disabilities. It will also continue its milk delivery program for nursing mothers who are business-related traveling. IBM will also reimburse parents up to $20,000 for eligible adoption or surrogacy expenses, including the costs associated with surrogate birth mothers.

Offering more generous family-related benefits has been the norm in Silicon Valley for years, by companies such as Facebook and Netflix. It’s also been a growing trend in Europe, specifically Germany. The European Commission has even drafted a proposal for new ways to make it easier for young parents to balance work and family life across the region, which is likely to become law, offering mothers and fathers equal leave time of four months.

“As the landscape for working parents changes, it’s abundantly clear that there is no one-size-fits–all approach for the issues faced by parents who are balancing family with outside work every day,” said Barbara Brickmeier, IBM’s V.P. of Employee Benefits.

Why This Matters -

Parental leave benefits are a great way to not just attract and retain employees, but to create a happier, more productive workforce and company culture.

While this trend may not necessarily be new, the fact that a major American corporation such as IBM has taken such a strong step forward will likely inspire others to do the same.

About the Author:

Bob is a strategic, innovative, and creative strategy leader with more than 25 years of experience driving growth for numerous world-renowned brands: both as a client and consultant. As V.P., Director of Innovation, he is helping set the stage for the next era of healthcare marketing by sharing provocative points of view, launching new products and capabilities and helping clients uncover powerful new ways to engage their customers. He possesses exceptional breadth and depth across channels and industries, and his expertise is rooted in solid business acumen. As a consultant, he was a trusted leader and advisor for companies such as Under Armour, American Express, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Macy’s, Target, Hilton, and Michelin. He has also held marketing and innovation positions on the client side in for Wendy’s, AOL, and JPMorganChase. Bob earned a B.A. in Journalism/Advertising from The Ohio State University and a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.