EY is extending its paid parental leave policy for US employees and introducing new parental financial assistance benefits.
From July 2016, Ernst and Young will offer 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave to all eligible US employees. This will apply to birth parents and adoptive parents, as well as those welcoming a new child though foster care, surrogacy or legal guardianship.
At present, new birth mothers receive up to 12 weeks of leave, and new fathers and adoptive parents receive six weeks of leave.
Employees will also have access to financial assistance of up to $25,000 per family for adoption, advanced reproductive technology procedures, including surrogacy, and egg and sperm freezing where medically necessary. The advanced reproductive technology procedures and surrogacy benefits will be available to couples of both the same sex and opposite sex.
The financial assistance benefits will come into force from January 2017.
The enhanced benefits aim to provide further support for parents and complement EY’s current family-friendly benefits offering. These include its EY Assist scheme, which provides subsidised and emergency childcare, various parent networks, and a career and family transitions coaching programme.
It also offers a lactation programme, which provides pre- and post-natal counselling sessions, resources and webinars on breastfeeding, free hospital-grade breast pump and travel kits for mothers who travel with work, kits to ship home expressed milk overnight while away, as well as privacy rooms for women who need to pump at work.
Stephen R. Howe Jr., US chairman and Americas managing partner at EY, said: “Creating a work environment where people have greater control over their work and life responsibilities is essential to their personal needs, critical to our business success and is another important way our purpose of building a better working world comes to life.
“Providing our people with equal benefits unmatched in professional services, not only demonstrates our commitment to helping our families succeed, but also empowers all of our parents, men and women, to take advantage of this special bonding time with their child before returning back to work.”
Karyn Twaronite, global diversity and inclusiveness officer at EY, added: “Traditional gender responsibilities at work and home are evolving and resulting in the need for more progressive parental leave policies to better support women and men in the workplace.
“With this in mind, we’ve expanded our parental leave benefits to enable all of our people to have the flexibility they need to manage their family needs, career demands and transitions, while continuing to experience dynamic career opportunities and development.”