The charitable organization founded by Melinda Gates and husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, announced last week that it would start offering new parents -- both mothers, fathers, and even those who become parents via adoption -- up to a year of parental leave.
The announcement comes after Melinda urged companies to offer more parental leave to their workers. In August of this year, she wrote an article published in Parents.com, wherein she stressed that parental leave is ultimately about “healthier babies, parents who are able to thrive professionally, and strong resilient families.” This move proves that she’s not afraid to walk the talk.
According to the statement delivered by Steven Rice, chief human resources officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the 52-week parental leave “will enable parents to participate more fully in their children’s lives, while also allowing them the flexibility and financial certainty to meet the needs of their growing families.” The foundation also announced that its employees are allowed an unlimited time off for when they are sick, and for vacations.
A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) had found that the time a mother spends at work greatly affects their parenting skills and increases their parenting stress levels -- and the children are affected emotionally and psychologically, too. Consequently, an extended parental leave has been linked to higher birth weights and lower rates of infant mortality. Fathers can also take on a more involved role in caring for their young child. It also makes the transition back to work easier for working mothers or fathers.
Over the past months, a number of companies, such as Netflix, Microsoft, Adobe, and even BPO company Accenture in the Philippines have extended their parental leaves and increased their parental benefits. Filipino lawmakers are also working on passing bills to extend the current new-parent leave of 60 days for normal delivery and 75 days for C-section deliveries.
Sources: October 7, 2015. “Another Company Offering A Year (!) Of Paid Parental Leave” (huffingtonpost.com) “Parental Leave Isn't Just About Parents: Why It Makes a Difference to Our Kids' Health” (parents.com)