Technology giant Intel has enriched its U.S. paid-leave benefits, effective Jan. 1, to give more support to employees caring for their families and loved ones. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm's offerings now include:
- Expanded paid bonding leave for new parents, from eight weeks to 12 weeks, in addition to covering pregnancy leave covered as a short-term disability for birth mothers.
- A part-time work schedule for up to four weeks with full-time pay for new parents. Intel also will provide breast milk shipping at no cost.
- Eight weeks of paid time off (PTO) to care for a seriously ill family member and two weeks for bereavement leave.
- Short-term disability coverage at regular pay for up to 52 weeks.
Julie Ann Overcash, Intel's vice president for human resources and director of global rewards and talent retention, recently shared with SHRM Online the reasoning behind Intel's enhanced benefits.
SHRM Online: What motivated the company to expand its paid-parental-leave policies?
Overcash: We continuously evaluate our benefit offerings and look for ways to improve them. We believe that when our employees and their families are supported, [our employees] perform at their best. This is proven time and time again. By enhancing paid-leave benefits, Intel allows employees to focus on their families and loved ones in times of need so they can return to work with the proper support.
SHRM Online: Do expanded paid-leave benefits help to address gender-equity issues?
Overcash: We believe that by supporting the whole family, it allows for more equity in general across the workforce, since caregiving responsibilities tend to be shared more equally at home.
[SHRM members-only HR Q&A: Can we require an employee to use paid time off (PTO) if he or she hasn't requested it? Can we limit when an employee can use it?]
SHRM Online: What's new about Intel's parent-reintegration/return-to-work policy, and what challenges is it intended to address?
Overcash: During their first month back, new parents can work part time with full-time pay. This allows them to ease back into their work schedule as they make adjustments at home. Additionally, parents who opt in receive a gift in celebration of the event.
SHRM Online: Are there limits on the relationships that are linked to bereavement leave for grieving employees? I ask because SHRM gets a lot of questions about how to set bereavement-leave policies and whether nonrelatives should be included.
Overcash: Generally, bereavement leave is for close family members, which qualifies as parents, siblings and grandparents. Our managers also try to provide some flexibility to employees who are grieving.
SHRM Online: Are there any other aspects that are unique to Intel's program?
Overcash: We have also announced a new paid-family-leave benefit that allows paid leave for up to eight weeks to care for a seriously ill family member. We believe there is a lot of value in offering employer-paid family leave, as there are many employees who are caring for not only their children, but for parents and other family members as well.
We expect that due to the extra support [Intel is providing employees], we will see increased retention and employee satisfaction.
Related SHRM Articles:
Paid Family Leave, on the Rise, Helps Women Stay in the Workforce, SHRM Online, January 2020
Paid Leave May Be 2020's Biggest Workplace News, SHRM Online, January 2020
[Visit SHRM's resource page on paid time off.]