For the past 11 years, I have worked for a Global technology fortune 1000 company. I am 1 of 1600 field-based commission only sales employees in the US. While we are all W-2 employees, we are paid 100% commissions in the form of one time signing bonuses and residuals. We do not receive PTO and we are the only channel in the company that can not opt in for Short Term Disability benefits. In 2016, right before having my first child, I discovered that our sales channel did not have a standard maternity program. The two options that were presented to me were:
1. Take FMLA leave for up to 12 weeks. Taking leave will mean that I would be cut off from email access and intranet access. Will not be allowed to submit any sales deals during the entirety of my leave.
2. Take a "unofficial" leave, which would allow me access to my internal systems, the ability to send in deals, but be held to my current sales quota - and if not met would count against my overall sales performance.
I made a lot of noise about these 2 options, and eventually was told that they had created a maternity leave program for the sales force that was in the final stages of being approved.
Fast forward to now...when I just found out that that program was never finalized and that the options today remain the same as they were back in 2016. Some sales employees have been told to take "intermittent FMLA" while out on leave, but this doesn't seem realistic with a new baby, nor does it address how our sales quotas will be handled - since they are measured on a monthly basis. For non-sales employees of our organization, they have both PTO and STD to tap into during leave - but again, both of these benefits are not provided to the sales channel and therefore it is 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Putting many of these new moms/parents in a position where they feel like they have to continue to work while adapting to the new life of having a child.
That is what I opted to do when I had my first baby in 2017, and I will tell you the changes and frustrations I felt both personal and profession were heartbreaking.
My company recently launched a women's network within our organization, and I am one of the chairs of that network. As a young, professional mom I take family leave very seriously and I think that it is a disservice to our incredible organization and our employees by not have a viable maternity program for the talented individuals within our sales channel who desire to have a family. I am reaching out to the FairyGodBoss community because I need your help with insight and resources. In early November, I will have an opportunity to meet with our President, Director of HR, and HR General Counsel to address this issue. I want to bring a solution to them, rather than just complaining of the lack of a program. I am looking for guidance and insight from individuals who work in sales (ideally commission only) that's company has a maternity program that addresses sales quotas and commissionable pay. Or anyone that is well versed with the legalities of FMLA and how we can bridge that gap that currently exists within my organization.
I am thrilled to be a part of the FairyGodBoss community and look forward to hearing your thoughts and prospective.