The world’s coolest billionaire has stepped up his game again. The CEO of Virgin Group has added a year’s paid parental leave to benefits his employees receive. This means dads can enjoy the first year with their newborns as well.
All employees can take up to 12 months and be assured their job will be waiting when they return, but those who’ve been employed with Virgin for more than four years receive 100% of their pay for that time. Those who’ve been with the company less time will still see a portion of their pay, but the percentage will be based on how long they’ve been employed there. This policy also extends to parents who’ve chosen adoption.
For now this policy only applies to Branson’s offices in London and Geneva and affects about 140 people but there is hope Branson will see the benefits and extend this to be corporation wide.
When announcing this new policy Branson stated
If you take care of your employees they will take care of your business. As a father and now a granddad to three wonderful grandchildren, I know how magical the first year of a child’s life is but also how much hard work it takes. I’m delighted that we can offer this support to our staff so that they can enjoy parental leave to the full as we continue to our work in changing business for good.
Some news outlets have taken to criticizing the program because the full benefit of the program only applies to employees that have been with the company for 4 years or more. Those with less than 2 years of service receive 25% of their normal salary for the year of leave. However, based on Branson’s statement, “I believe if you take care of your employees they will take care of your business,” this is partly the point…rewarding loyal employees with significant benefits for their service.
This move is a big one but also not surprising coming from Branson who has always been known for his employee appreciation and, in September, announced that his salaried employees could take as much vacation time as they want, when they want, so long as their work is kept up on. While this move benefits everyone it can also be seen as a huge relief to working parents who no longer have to be strategic with sick days or worry about their job to pick a sick kid up at school, or take a family mental health day and just have some fun.
Photo credit: www.twitter.com/richardbranson