WonderProxy's Parental Leave Policy

by Paul Reinheimer on

As a growing concern, WonderProxy needed a parental leave policy, so we wrote one. We're pretty happy with it, so we wanted to share the policy we've crafted and a little bit of the rationale behind the decisions we've made:

Proposed[1] parental leave policy:

  • Employee gets 4 months paid leave from WonderProxy. WonderProxy will pay 100% of the normal salary, less any contributions from insurance, government-provided employment insurance, et cetera.
  • Employee may choose to take the four months of pay and spread them over a longer period of leave (e.g. 50% pay for 8 months).
  • Employee may choose to take their leave in chunks. Examples:
    • 3 months at birth, 1 month later in the year
    • 3 months at birth, takes Friday off for 20 weeks
  • Employee may take additional unpaid time off as required by law (e.g. EI parental leave in Canada)
  • Parental leave should be concluded within 1 year of child arrival.
  • Vacation assigned for the parental leave year equals (1-(<months taken off>/12)) * days of vacation in normal year.

Who it would apply to:

  • This policy applies to all full-time and part-time employees who become parents regardless of the mechanism (biological mother, biological father, adoptive mother, adoptive father, etc.) who have been with the company for at least six months when the child arrives.
  • For part-time hourly employees, the average of the three months preceding child arrival will be used to determine the wages owed during the parental leave period. Salaried employees will get their usual salary.

Rationale

When writing a parental leave policy, it's tempting (and common) to offer birth mothers more time off (e.g. ladies get four months, gents get two), or to offer more time off for ladies who have had C-sections or whatever. When you do that, though, you're also sending a signal that taking care of children is ladies' work -- that's not a signal we want to send (and not something we believe), so we wanted the parental leave policy to apply to all parents equally.

Similarly, we ensured the plan covers all employees, not just full-time salaried folks. Our part-time hourly employees are just as important to us as our full-time, and should they decide to grow their families, they deserve the same support as everyone else.

We made sure we built in flexibility because we know parents will need it, and we have no idea what other policies could be in play (e.g. if a partner is present, their policy may require them to take all their leave within a few weeks of the child's arrival). We want new WonderParents to be able to take the time they need when it's most convenient for them and their families.

WonderProxy is not a huge multi-national where we can easily hire a temp or contractor or have co-workers pick up the slack for a few months… so leave is going to be tricky to manage. That's my problem, though, not something that a new parent employee should be worrying about when they have much cuter things to worry about.


  1. The policy is currently marked as proposed as we're still waiting for our HR consultants to tell us that we're not breaking the law with any it. We don't think we are, but they may suggest some wording changes. ↩︎