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When Rob Keeling, director of diversity at Capital One, wanted to improve the McLean, Va.-based credit-card company's parental leave policy, he didn't have to look far for suggestions.

The company's female employees, through their employee network, told him what to do: Extend paid time off and allow flexibility when new parents return to work. They were clear that they wanted more than the 12 unpaid weeks the federal FMLA allows.

The company's revamped policy, Keeling says, is a "slam-dunk" on their suggestions. Now, a new mother's fully paid leave is eight weeks instead of six. In addition, primary caregivers can work half-time for half pay for 30 days after a birth and don't have to use vacation leave before qualifying for unpaid leave. Foster and adoptive parents can take six weeks' unpaid leave.

Benchmarking against competitors' policies led the company to offer parents more time. The popular policy, Keeling says, already is helping with recruitment and retention.

Contact: Rob Keeling, Capital One, (703) 720-2500.  

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