Girl Scouts of the USA Among Leaders in New-Parent Benefits
Parental Leave Policy Now Offers Paternity Leave and Expanded Benefits for Maternity Leave, Promoting Gender Parity Through Option of Shared Childcare
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Girl Scouts of the USA Press Room
NEW YORK, NY—Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) today announced a major overhaul of its employee benefits package that exponentially increases paid time off for new parents. Under its new parental leave plan, in effect beginning October 1, 2016, GSUSA employees are able to take additional paid time off for maternity, and, for the first time ever, paternity leave, in the event of childbirth, adoption, or foster care, for up to 12 weeks. Previously, a combination of federal and state laws, short-term disability, and GSUSA policy ensured that new mothers were covered during leave periods, although those leaves typically averaged only six weeks. New fathers had no specific paternity coverage and were compelled to use personal time off to attend to childcare. Now, both male and female employees can expand the length of paid parental leave under GSUSA’s new benefit, which allows for continued maternity leave coverage beyond the average doctor’s prescription for up to 12 weeks and for paternity leave coverage for up to 12 weeks as well.
The enhancement puts Girl Scouts at the cutting edge of companies in the United States in terms of the quantity of quality time now available for mothers and fathers to spend with their new children—regardless of how that child comes into their lives, or the nature and structure of their new family. It is the first time in the history of the organization that paternal leave of any kind is being offered to fathers, giving them a chance to be available for their new children and to demonstrate that child-rearing is not the exclusive purview of one gender or parent. Parental leave options will be allowed in four-week increments, permitting employees to choose when and how to structure their leave for up to 12 weeks, as long as all of the benefit is used within the first year of the child coming into the family. By easing the burden on parents and offering flexible options, GSUSA is helping employees build strong, stable families where the heavy work of childcare can be shared equally.
“Girl Scouts is taking the lead in ensuring new parents can focus on their family during the formative first months of a child’s development and not have to choose between work and being present in the lives of their new children,” said Joanne Rencher, chief people officer of GSUSA. “We are proud to be among the leaders in our sector in offering both men and women in our employ an opportunity to share in the joys and heavy workload of caring for a new child so that the burden does not fall disproportionately on one parent in two-parent households or cause additional worries about income during those all-important first few months. Demonstrating to our children that parenting is the responsibility of both adults in a two-parent situation is a vital aspect of creating greater gender parity within our society. And as more and more millennial employees decide to start families, Girl Scouts is working to stay ahead of the curve by ensuring our policies and benefits match the ways our families live.”
The benefit is open to all regular, full-time employees who have completed one year of service at GSUSA, and benefit payments will be tiered based on years of service. The new parental leave benefit will run concurrently with coverage available to GSUSA employees through the Family Medical Leave Act, which ensures 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave with job security for all eligible employees and short-term disability when applicable. In combination with GSUSA’s parental leave benefit, both mothers and fathers welcoming a new child into their lives can rest assured that their jobs and their paychecks are secure as they and their partners experience the first 12 weeks of their new family.
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