Richard Branson just may have started a trend that will make life easier for parents everywhere. Virgin, the investment and brand licensing office of the Virgin Group, recently announced that it will allow all parents—that means fathers also—to take up to 52 weeks of shared parental leave and receive up to 100% of their salaries. The pay is based on the number of years an employee has worked with the company, with those employees who commit to more than four years with the organization receiving the highest pay.
Branson on the change: “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business … I’m delighted that we can offer this support to our staff so that they can enjoy parental leave to the full as we continue to our work in changing business for good.”
While this is a solid PR move for the company, it’s also a solid business move. It shows employees that the organization sees them as more than just a cog in the wheel. That devotion to them builds their loyalty and encourages them to stay on for the long haul.
Takeaway: While you may not be able to offer such a substantial parental leave package, you can make life much easier for your own expecting parents. Extending your current package to fathers, offering more flexibility and telecommuting options, and simply being understanding of parents with babies can go a long way toward building a devoted and loyal workforce.
— Adapted from “Richard Branson Gives Employees a Year of Paid Leave So They Can Watch Their Newborns Grow Up,” Jameson Parker, Addicting Info, www.addictinginfo.org.
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