Facebook played an important role in kicking off an arms race in corporate America for better parental leave, and the company hopes to do the same for bereavement leave. The social networking giant is now allowing employees to take paid leave of up to 20 days to grieve the loss of an immediate family member, reports CNN.
Facebook COO used her experience to frame new policy
If an extended family member passes away, then up to 10 days of leave can be taken. This policy doubles the amount of time employees used to receive for bereavement. The policy went into effect at the beginning of the year, but on Tuesday, the company made a public announcement about it.
Also employees are allowed to take up to six weeks of paid time off to take care of sick relatives. To care for a family member facing a short-term illness, they can take a leave of three days.
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In a post, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “I hope more companies will join us and others making similar moves, because America’s families deserve support.” Sandberg, who lost her husband last year, used her experience when she sat down to frame the new employee perk.
“Amid the nightmare of Dave’s death when my kids needed me more than ever, I was grateful every day to work for a company that provides bereavement leave and flexibility. I needed both to start my recovery.” Sandberg said. “No one should face this tradeoff.”
Tech firms ahead in offering parental leave and health care benefits
Federal law does not require companies to offer bereavement leave to employees. The amount of paid time off varies widely among companies that do offer it. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 60% of private sector workers in the U.S. get paid time off for bereavement, and it is usually just a few days.
More and more technology companies are extending the benefits they offer to employees. The amount of paid parental leave and health care benefits that many top tech giants offer is more than what most companies in other industries do.
For example, companies in the U.S. are required to give only 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave to women. However, both parents get 17 weeks of paid parental leave at Facebook, while at Google, mothers are offered paid leave of 20 weeks, and fathers get nine weeks of paid leave, notes CNET.