Yesterday, consulting firm EY announced a new parental leave policy that a Fortune article’s byline aptly summed up by saying “The gauntlet has been thrown.”
Indeed, the professional services firm’s press release specifically describes themselves as a leader among their competitors: “The new policy increases benefits for all eligible parents and positions EY as a 1st mover in equalizing parental leave benefits for men and women among the Big Four, Accenture, IBM and other professional services firms.”
So what are the details of this policy?
Upon the arrival of a new child (for either parent, and whether the child is born, adopted, taken into foster care, legal guardianship, or conceived by surrogacy), employees will be eligible for up to 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave. This policy applies to U.S. employees (of which there are roughly 1,200).
The new policy expands upon the current policy of 12 weeks for birth mothers and 6 weeks for dads and adoptive parents. EY’S U.S. Chairman Stephen R. Howe Jr. has said that these enhanced benefits are to demonstrate their commitment to helping their employees’ families succeed and because traditional gender responsibilities at work and home are evolving. Moreover, EY pointed out that their internal surveys showed that employees who were parents were some of their “most engaged employees” and these policies supported them.
EY’s new benefits also include financial assistance for adoption (up to $25,000 per family), “advanced reproductive technology procedures (ART) including for surrogacy, and medically-necessary egg and sperm freezing” available to both same sex and opposite sex couples. These benefits go into effect on January 1, 2017 and the enhanced parental leave policy goes into effect this summer, on July 1, 2016.
We have written before that there seems to be an “arms race” to offer the best benefits in order to attract and retain talent (millennial and otherwise). While most of the press seems to be reporting on the paid leave policies of technology companies, we have observed strong momentum in other industries as well. For example, Coca-Cola implemented their first paid parental leave policy earlier this week. In the consulting industry, according to a Fortune analysis, Accenture is the only other consulting firm besides EY to offer 16 weeks of paid parental leave (though it is only available for birth mothers). This analysis matches the data in our own crowdsourced parental leave database, which shows that EY’s benefits exceed the consulting industry average of 12 paid weeks of maternity leave.
We applaud EY’s announcement and welcome it as part of a larger trend we’re proud to be help support!
Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace for women.