Thinking about starting a family soon?
In America, that means you need to be thinking about your employer’s parental leave policies. Unless you’re lucky enough to be sitting on a tall stack of cash, these policies will affect every part of the family-planning process, from whether you’re given adequate paid time off to physically recover from birthing a child to whether you’re even allowed to take any time off at all.
The good news is that in recent years, there’s been a very slight bump in the percentage of employers that offer these benefits, and a somewhat notable bump in the number of companies that offer paid parental leave to either parent for extra bonding time with their child in the first year of life.
Let’s look at the overall state of parental leave in the United States, along with 15 of the best employers with paid parental leave policies.
The State of Standard Parental Leave in America
Parental leave policies in America are abysmal. There is no federally-mandated paid leave – even for the birthing parent.
In fact, the only protective policy we have is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and all that does is prevent your employer from firing you or canceling your health insurance when you take off for medical reasons related to pregnancy and childbirth. The FMLA protects you for up to 12 weeks.
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, only 44% of American workers even qualify for the FMLA, which means 56% of workers could legally lose their job or their health benefits if they took time off for a medical need like childbirth.
You can determine if you qualify for FMLA if you meet these requirements:
- Your employer has 50+ employees within 75 miles of your work location.
- You’ve worked for the employer for at least 12 months (does not have to be consecutive).
- You’ve worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months.
States With Parental Leave Insurance
In a handful of states, just because the federal government doesn’t provide you with paid leave doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Some states offer partially-paid leave through state-run, short-term disability insurance.
If you are the birthing parent, these states have short-term disability insurance that will provide you with full- or partial-pay for a set amount of time dependent on medical need:
15 Employers With Great Parental Leave Policies
The best way to get parental leave in the United States is through your employer. Only 35% of employers offer maternity leave, and 33% offer parental leave, though these policies can overlap.
Over the past two years, we saw a surge in these employee benefits. At the peaks, as many as 53% of employers were offering maternity leave, and 39% were offering parental leave. But in 2022, we’re almost back to pre-pandemic norms. Women and birthing parents have seen virtually no long-lasting change in terms of where we were before the pandemic.
Non-birthing parents, on the other hand, have benefited from a 5-point expansion in the percentage of companies that provide parental leave. Some companies do offer parental leave in lieu of or in addition to maternity leave, as well, but maternity leave has traditionally been used for the medical recovery of birth rather than the sustained care of newborns in America.
If you’re job hunting and thinking of starting or expanding your family in the near future, here are 15 companies that continue to offer substantial paid leave policies for parents.
Netflix gives salaried employees unlimited leave in the first year of their child’s life at 100% pay. Now, kind of like “unlimited” paid time off or vacation policies, there’s some nuance. You’ll have to work with your manager to figure out what works best for you, your family, and your team at work.
While Netfilx’s company culture encourages employees to take this leave, the company does acknowledge that most parents take anywhere between four and eight months of the 12 they’re eligible for.
To qualify for Adobe’s parental and birthing parent leave benefits, you must be FMLA eligible. But if you meet the FMLA standards, Adobe’s going to give you a lot more than the FMLA guarantees.
Either parent can claim up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave within the first six months of the child’s life. You have to take this time off consecutively, so you can’t take a month off at the birth, go back to work and then take three more months off when your babe is three months old. You’ve got to use it all at once.
Leave for Birthing Parents
The birthing parent gets up to 10 weeks of medical leave paid at 100%. You might need a doctor’s note to claim this part of the policy depending on the HR manager. But it is stackable on top of the general parental leave policy, giving the birthing parent up to 26 weeks of total paid leave.
Not FMLA eligible?
If you’re not FMLA eligible – or you’ve already claimed FMLA leave for the year – you can claim up to 4 weeks of parental leave with 100% pay under Adobe’s policies.
Whether or not you’re FMLA eligible, if your state has a disability insurance program, it will run concurrently with Adobe’s parental leave policies. That means you won’t get extra weeks.
You also won’t get extra money. The state will pay you first, and then Adobe will top you off until you hit 100% of your regular pay.
To qualify for any of Google’s family leave benefits, you must be with the company for at least 90 days and work 30 hours or more per week.
Google also requires its suppliers to provide this same type of leave for their employees – so Google-adjacent jobs might get you the same deal.
All parents get 18 weeks of paid parental leave at Google as of 2022.
Leave for Birthing Parents
Birthing parents get a total of 24 weeks of leave from Google – which is inclusive of the parental leave portion. So six extra weeks.
Like Adobe, if your state provides short-term disability insurance, Google will top it off to get your pay to 100%, but won’t give you extra money on top of the state payout. If your state offers a short-term disability program that’s longer than six weeks, it won’t affect your 18 weeks of additional parental leave if you take that extra time at partial pay per your state’s program.
On top of parental leave and medical leave for birthing parents, Google provides an additional 8 weeks per year for caregiver needs. That means you can take care of your child out of infancy, staying home with them when they’re sick or attending parent-teacher conferences or whatever it is you’ve got to do.
Facebook’s benefits for parental leave and medical leave for birthing parents have different requirements, so be sure to pay attention.
To qualify for parental leave, you must be a full-time employee. Facebook provides up to four months of parental leave at 100% pay within the first year of your child’s life. You can take this leave intermittently.
Leave for Birthing Parents
You’ve got to be a full-time employee to qualify for the four-month parental leave, even if you’re the birthing parent.
But all birthing parents qualify for 10-12 weeks of additional “maternity” leave as long as you work at least 20 hours per week. It doesn’t matter if you’re full-time, part-time or a short-term employee, and the benefit kicks in the moment you’re hired.
Here’s how those weeks break down:
- 4 weeks prior to the anticipated birth date.
- 6 weeks of medical recovery for vaginal deliveries.
- 8 weeks of medical recovery for C-sections.
Thumbtack’s leave benefits are available to all full-time employees on Day One of employment – no waiting period. Its program is particularly successful, with 10% of employees taking parental leave since 2020 and 99.98% of employees returning after they took their leave.
“We provide parents with a parental leave guide to ensure they are ready for their leave and able to fully disconnect while gone, as well as to help set them up for success upon their return to work,” said Jelena Djordjevic, VP of people at Thumbtack.
“This includes joining our parents employee resource group, our internal network of other parents who now make up nearly a quarter of our team.”
Parents get up to 12 weeks of parental leave within the first year of their child’s life. You can take this leave intermittently, and the minimum increment is one week at a time.
Leave for Birthing Parents
Birthing parents get an additional 8 weeks of medical leave, for a total of 20 weeks paid leave during the child’s first year of life.
In addition to parental leave during the child’s first year of life, Thumbtack provides another 40 hours of leave at 100% each and every year for caregiving needs. This can include things like:
- Taking time off to find a school or childcare.
- Participating in school activities.
- Addressing family health conditions.
Thumbtack offers employees five days of fully-paid bereavement leave due to the loss of a loved one, too. Bereavement leave can be applied to the loss of a pregnancy or a miscarriage.
6. Bank of America
Whether you’re a bank teller or a VP working in a corner office, Bank of America offers parental leave for all employees who have been with the company for at least one year.
All parents get 16 weeks of fully-paid parental leave, to be used in the first year after birth or adoption. You also have the option to continue your leave for an additional 10 weeks. These last ten weeks are unpaid, but they do come with job protection.
Bank of America offers a bereavement leave benefit, as well. You get 20 business days off (which is four weeks or more in many cases), and the leave is fully paid if you lost an eligible dependent.
From the front desk to the corporate offices, all Hilton employees in America qualify for parental leave if they work at least 30 hours per week and have been with the company for at least a year.
Hilton also provides a tremendous resource to their employees through their Care for All platform, which offers actionable and encouraging news for employees who are caregivers around the world. It includes information for those caring for family members – whether they’re caring for children, aging parents, or sick or disabled family members.
The site also provides resources for managers so they can better support employees who are also family caregivers.
Parents receive four weeks of 100% paid leave.
Leave for Birthing Parent
As a birthing parent, you receive an additional eight weeks of 100% paid leave after the birth of your child, for a total of 12 weeks.
If you need to take time off before the birth, you can get partial pay through Hilton’s short-term disability insurance. There are two types of coverage: Basic and Buy-Up.
All eligible employees automatically get the Basic coverage. It gives you up to 26 weeks off at 60% pay, with a max benefit of $250 per week.
For $250 per week to be 60% of your pay, you’d need to be making less than $11 per hour. So you may opt to pay a premium for the Buy-Up coverage, which provides you with 60% pay up to $2,308 per week.
In addition to its leave policies, Hilton provides parents and all caregivers access to a caregiving concierge through its partner, Wellthy, as an employee benefit.
Some of the services Wellthy provides include:
- Assistance filing all of the paperwork – whether it’s legal, health-related, financial, or related to social or support groups.
- A real-life person as your concierge. The concierge team includes Master’s level social workers, psychologists, and other health professionals.
- Help keeping on top of your schedule as a busy parent or caregiver.
Amazon offers parental leave to blue-badge employees who work at least 30 hours per week.
The badge system at Amazon just shows which type of employee you are. White badges indicate seasonal or temporary employees, while the blue badge is for permanent positions. (The blue badge changes to orange and other colors after a set number of years with the company, but that’s another story.)
All parents get six weeks of fully-paid parental leave, which can be used within one year of birth or adoption. You can use the leave all at once, or split it into two separate windows. You don’t need to work with your manager on this – you need to inform them of your plans, but your plans don’t require their approval according to company policy.
Leave for Birthing Parents
Birthing parents get 10 weeks of paid medical leave after the birth of the child. If you get a doctor’s note, you may also be able to get four weeks of paid leave prior to your due date.
If your state offers paid leave through short-term disability insurance, it will run at the same time as Amazon’s employee benefit – not in addition to it.
Amazon has an incredible policy that allows you to split your parental leave with your spouse if they do not get paid leave through their employer.
Let’s say you’re not the birthing parent, and the birthing parent gets no paid time off. One way you could use this program is by taking one week of the leave for yourself, and giving them the other five.
Your spouse will be paid 100% of your income while they’re claiming the leave – not 100% of whatever they make.
9. Open Society Foundation
The Open Society Foundation offers employees six months of paid parental leave. The first three months are paid at 100%. The remaining three weeks are paid at 70% – 80%.
After five years of employment, all employees are eligible for a four-month sabbatical. While you don’t have to be a parent to use this benefit, those planning to expand their family may want to take this additional benefit into account when planning their leave.
Microsoft offers employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave. Birthing parents get eight additional weeks of paid time off, for a total of 20 weeks.
Ikea provides employees with 16 weeks of 100% paid parental leave. Birthing parents get 10 weeks of short-term disability leave.
3M offers eligible employees parental leave as a benefit from the first day they’re on the job. The leave is 20 weeks total, but only the first 10 are paid.
Dannon (AKA Danone North America) gives its employees 18 weeks of paid parental leave. It used to not apply to manufacturing employees (which comprise more than 50% of the company’s workforce,) but the benefit was expanded to everyone in 2020.
L’Oreal still breaks its parental leave policies down in terms of maternity and paternity leave. Maternity leave is 14 weeks at 100% pay, while paternity leave is 10 days at 100% pay.
L’Oreal also provides employees with a major medical treatment benefit, which can cover up to 75% of costs in addition to your health insurance coverage.
15. Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments gives employees 12 weeks of 100% paid parental leave to all parents. Birthing parents get additional time, for a total of 16 weeks.
Pittsburgh-based writer Brynne Conroy is the founder of the Femme Frugality blog and the author of “The Feminist Financial Handbook.” She is a regular contributor to The Penny Hoarder.