“Paid parental leave is key to leveling the playing field”Lily B. Clausen Stanford Business School

As it stands in 2017, more than 86% of American employees do not have access to paid parental leave. However, many companies have been changing this and the figure of companies introducing it has increased massively since 2016. Although, I often feel like statistics just become another number and they’re taken for granted when you consider that people’s lives are on the line.

At SparkPost, we have an awesome parental leave policy and we are constantly updating it to coincide with the interests of our employees. We’re big proponents of striking a good work/life balance among our employees to help support their growth and career path at SparkPost. In fact, there has been immense feedback from the Dads at SparkPost who have used or are using this benefit.

“I think SparkPost is both an employee and customer focused company. Overall, we want to provide a generous benefits program to our employees whether that is through our parental leave policy, our flexible hours, work from home days, or health benefits. Being able to provide new parents with extra time to bond with their child is a win-win. Parents have the opportunity to decide how to use this time whether all at once, once a week, or split the time throughout the 12 months. The culture here truly allows moms and dads alike to actually use this benefit. It’s rewarding to get a call or email from the new expecting parent as we work together with their manager to schedule this time out of the office.” Julie Acri, VP of Human Resources, Sparkpost. 

Here are some key points about why we feel paid parental leave is essential for parents told to us by the experiences of some of the dads at the company.

“My wife will be the first to tell you that SparkPost’s parental leave policy is great!” – Software Engineer Dave.

Benefits of Paid Parental Leave Policies For Families & Organizations

Bonding and Development
Parents need time to adjust to their lifestyle change following the birth of a child. They also need the opportunity to bond with their child for its own personal and cognitive development. One of the Dads in the company, Bob, reiterates this point:

“It was great. It allowed me to spend time with my wife and son during the early weeks of his life.”

Happier Parents Make For Happier Workers
Allowing employees to fulfill a proper work-life balance is essential for the overall happiness of a parent. Policies that encourage sentiments such as parental leave or a good retirement plan will always make workers feel comfortable and secure within the organization.

For example one of our employees Deepak has said that,“Before the birth of the baby, knowing about the policy gave me reassurance and that I could take time off if needed given the uncertainty of how much care my wife and the new baby would need.”

Similarly, another Dad who used this benefit, Dave, found it extremely helpful for bonding:
“The policy gave me the opportunity to bond with her after the initial placement, and our awesome HR people made the inevitable paperwork as easy as possible.” 

The benefit also works as financial security to any parents who use it, in particular: “It greatly helped us push back the time before we needed to enroll him in daycare, allowing us to save money and spend some much appreciated time bonding with him.”

Increase In Productivity
By having paid parental leave, organizations are able to retain employees with company-specific knowledge. When you lose an employee, you spend more time and resources on recruiting a new person to fill that role than you would if you’re able to retain an existing employee. This way, paid family leave not only allows an employee to come back refreshed but signals that the company believes in investing in them and their future.

 

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day

Every night I go home to my family – my husband, an eight-year old daughter and a five-year old son. The differences in conversations I have with my two children are striking. My son and I talk about cartoons, toys and why he shouldn’t be jumping off of furniture. My daughter and I talk about her future – as in what she wants to be when she grows up. Today (and for the last six months) she wants to be a scientist – a chemist to be exact. This choice makes me happy and a little bit scared. Although the number of women in STEM fields is increasing, it still isn’t near being proportionate to men in these professions. I have hope that this will change by the time she reaches the professional world. If more companies put a focused effort into women’s initiatives like SparkPost, the future looks bright for all women in the workplace.

Making Strides

This year alone, SparkPost has made gender equality in the workplace a top priority. We conducted a market salary analysis for all of our jobs with a focus on making sure that women were being paid commensurate to men in the company. Another initiative was to create a parental leave policy that allows new parents to take 8 weeks off – fully paid – to care for their newborn or adoptive children. The company also makes a conscious effort to promote from within. I am very proud to say that 42% of our Vice President leaders are women – all promoted from within.

In today’s work world, women are trying to balance the needs of both work and their lives outside of work. They are trying not to define themselves by either choice, but to have a life well lived. SparkPost embraces this choice by offering flexible work arrangements such as working remotely, working flexible hours or working part-time. We also have many women in our company who utilize these flexible work options.

In May, SparkPost will be continuing our community volunteering efforts at Success In Style whose mission is to help women achieve a professional image to increase their confidence when going to an interview.

On this day to celebrate women and embrace their achievements, I am proud to say that I work for SparkPost. SparkPost looks out for the best interests of all employees, but also makes a conscious effort to ensure there is equality in the workplace for women.

And I am hopeful that one day my daughter works for a company just like SparkPost.

-Julie Acri
VP, Human Resources