Earlier this week, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, announced that Facebook employees will now be getting 6 weeks’ paid family leave apart from the 4 month paid leave available to moms and dads. Sandberg who made the announcement at the Makers’ conference, a women’s leadership event held in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, underlined the importance of leaves by sharing how taking time off from work helped her cope after her husband’s death.

“This is very personal for me,” said Sandberg about the newly announced paid leave policies.

In the United States, only 60% private sector workers have any paid time off after they lose a loved one, and usually it’s only a few days

Facebook also announced three days of additional time off for employees caring for a family member with a short-term illness, and 20 days of bereavement leave, which is twice of what it was before.

In her Facebook post, Sandberg talks about Facebook’s commitment towards its leave policies for its employees:

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg - facebook - shethepeople

The US is one of only a handful of countries in the world that offers no paid maternity leave

“When something happens that’s traumatic, it’s not just dealing with that but has its ripple effects. Psychologists think of it as Secondary Losses,” said Sandberg. Facebook definitely shows commitment to its employees by announcing such a fexible and extended leave policy.

Reacting to Facebook’s new leave policy, Jayantika Rai, a 31-year-old mother working with a start-up in Mumbai told SheThePeople.TV: “A flexible and understanding work culture is very important for me. Employees spend most of their hours in the office, and knowing that your employer appreciates your given time and hard work is what makes one stick around. Regardless of whether one is single, married, without a child, has someone to take care of back home, just knowing that you’re part of another family makes working easier.”

Ishani Ray (26), working with an MNC in Mumbai, says, “I moved to this city from Kolkata. My father had passed away and I had to rush back home. My boss was extremely understanding of the situation. He spoke to the HR and I didn’t have to worry about anything. It was a relief to know that while I deal with a personal emergency, I still had a hold on my professional opportunities.”

Why family leave is important? 

– It improves a family’s ability to care for the next generation. According to economists Raquel Bernal and Anna Fruttero, a paid parental leave can increase a child’s average human capital. The time spent with the baby increases the child’s future skill level.

Economists find that the lack of paid family leave is one reason that the United States ranks 17th out of 22 OECD countries in female labour force participation.

Source: equitablegrowth.org

Providing paid leaves actually saves the companies money. Sociologist Sarah Jane Glynn conducted interviews to only find out that businesses spend about one-fifth of a worker’s salary to replace that worker.

– “Research on the effects of paid leave policies finds that leave periods up to a reasonable length of time is positive for employment outcomes, and those positive employment outcomes are consequently beneficial to the entire economy,” says Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.