It is a start of family-friendly benefits being offered in the United States. To date, the U.S. is the only industrialized country that doesn’t mandate some form of paid parental leave, or paid caregiving. A few states and a small, but growing, number of companies are beginning to offer broader paid leave for caregivers. Leading the way, Deloitte LLP, a professional services firm, is announcing that it will offer up to 16 weeks of fully paid leave for a wide range of caregiving, including maternity and paternity leave, eldercare and aid for other sick family members or partners. The policy, effective this month, applies to family members including spouses, domestic partners, parents, stepparents, children or siblings.
The company is following guidelines similar to those of the FMLA, requiring the leave to be used for serious conditions that incapacitate loved ones for at least three consecutive days. Note: The federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for family members, but it doesn’t apply to all employers or workers. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and many part-time workers generally aren’t eligible. A recent survey indicated that nearly 17% of Americans over age 18, which is about 40 million people, provide unpaid care to an adult.
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