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Citi Boosts Paid Parental Leave Policy

exterior shot of Citi building

Citi said Tuesday that it is enhancing its paid parental leave policy and adding paid time off for caregiving, making the financial services firm the latest employer to bolster family benefits.

All Citi employees in the U.S. and Puerto Rico will receive 16 weeks of paid parental leave, “ensuring more time to bond with a child and supporting all paths to parenthood,” the firm said. Birthing parents will receive additional paid recovery time of up to eight weeks, to total up to 24 weeks. All employees will also be eligible for two weeks of paid leave annually to care for an immediate family member.

The policies went into effect June 4.

The firm last expanded parental leave in the U.S. in 2017, increasing birthing parent leave to 16 weeks from 13 weeks and nonbirthing parent leave to eight weeks from two weeks. Citi had no prior paid caregiving leave policy.

“These changes underscore our commitment to an inclusive workplace and supporting colleagues and their families through major life stages,” Citi CHRO Sara Wechter wrote in a company memo. Citi said it uses data and analytics when determining new benefits for its more than 200,000 employees, “listening to their growing needs and ensuring they can be successful at work and home.”

Citi’s enhanced benefits come as a number of employers look to bolster family benefits as a way to stay competitive in a hot job market while also better supporting employee well-being.

Insurance company QBE North America also recently enhanced its paid parental leave, now providing 12 weeks to all parents on a gender-equal basis. In addition, the firm—which has more than 2,700 North America employees—provides two weeks of prepartum leave, as well as six to eight weeks of short-term disability, to parents giving birth. When this is combined with the paid parental leave, birthing parents can take up to 22 weeks total of paid time off.

The Universities of Wisconsin and UW-Madison are rolling out a new policy next month that will give eligible employees six weeks of paid time off following the birth or adoption of a child. Liberty Mutual Insurance also enhanced its parental leave policy recently, now offering all parents eight weeks of paid time off and birthing parents an additional eight weeks.

The U.S. is one of the only industrialized countries with no federal paid parental leave, and workplaces with paid parental leave remain rare. Just 27% of all private-industry workers have access to paid family leave, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Workers who can least afford to take unpaid time off are also the least likely to have access to paid leave: According to the BLS, just 14% of workers in the lowest 25% wage category get that benefit, compared with 48% of those in the top 10%.

But some employers are making strides on their own as employees increasingly call for better benefits to manage their personal lives. Employers often answer the call as a way to better recruit and retain workers.

SHRM’s 2023 Employee Benefits Survey found that considerable improvements have been made in parental-leave and family-leave benefits programs over the past year. Paid maternity and paternity leave each saw 5-percentage-point jumps from 2022 to 2023 and are now offered by 40% and 32% of employers, respectively, SHRM’s survey found.

Simultaneously, paid parental leave is now offered by roughly 4 in 10 employers (39%), a 6-point jump from 2022, according to SHRM’s 2023 data. Paid adoption leave also jumped by 6 percentage points, with about a third of employers (34%) now offering it. Paid foster child leave is now offered by 25% of employers, representing a 3-percentage-point increase.

“Attitudes are really shifting around parental leave. It's a topic that has been evolving, and it's a real opportunity as an employer to drive broader societal change,” said Rachel Pollack, CHRO at QBE North America.


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