Earlier this month, Maternity Care Coalition became a pioneer in parental leave policies. JoAnne Fischer, Executive Director of MCC, announced that the organization will begin aligning their Human Resource policies with their mission, offering 6 weeks of paid family leave—which extends to new parents, whether biological, adoptive or foster parents, and same sex domestic partners.
Currently the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—used as a baseline for most organizations’ parental leave policies—allows for 12 weeks leave for eligible employees, an entirely unpaid leave which only covers about 50 percent of Americans.
“When we default to the status quo, we focus on all the reasons typically given not to offer paid leave,” JoAnne Fischer said. “We emphasize that we are a small organization; we are a nonprofit; 97 percent of our staff are women. But we did our research, we ran our reports and you know what? We realize that we can make it work, and we think other organizations and businesses can too.”
And then there are al the important reasons supporting this policy change. Women need a minimum of six weeks to recover physically after giving birth. Yet one quarter of American women return to work within ten days of delivering their babies. Paid parental leave provides families with the time and space needed to recover and bond during the crucial early days of life without financial worry. From a business prospective, paid parental leave increases employee retention, attracts talent and ensures a healthy start for the next generation of workers.
Maternity Care Coalition’s Executive Associate Sara Jann was thrilled to learn about MCC’s new policy.
“I was surprised at my own emotional response. It felt like such an incredible gift that the organization was providing its employees. But you know what? It’s not a gift. It is a reasonable and long overdue policy. It is good for families and good for businesses.”
Big tech companies like Facebook and Netflix have caught on to the trend—but where do non-profits and advocacy agencies stand? While MCC is very proud of this new policy, the organization is now challenging other agencies and businesses take note and follow suite. Additionally, MCC encourages Americans to recognize this as an opportunity to take action during the upcoming election season. Tell your local and state legislators to stand-up for families so that other organizations will question their outdated assumptions and make similar policy changes.