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Amazon has a pretty amazing and innovative new parental leave policy

(David Ryder/Getty Images)

Parental leave is a sore subject for many women and men in the United States: with no government-mandated paid parental leave, only 13 percent of people working in the private industry have access to paid leave. Silicon Valley, however, in order to attract the top talent, has been more generous than other companies in their paid leave policies — and Amazon in particular seems to be leading the way. “We wanted to build an egalitarian program that would work for all of our employees,” Steve Winter, Amazon’s director of global programs and services explained to CNBC. Mothers can potentially take up to 20 weeks of paid maternity leave, while dads, adoptive parents and non-birth mothers are entitled to six weeks of fully paid parental leave when they have been with the company for a year.

But the most surprising aspect of the retail giant’s policy is the so-called Leave Share program, which gives employees the chance to “share” their parental leave with their spouse, if they work at a company that does not have a parental leave policy in place. Additionally, the company has a Ramp Back program in place, where new parents are allowed an eight-week flexible schedule and reduced work hours to make for a smoother transition back into the workforce. Liz Swanby, an operations manager for the company is grateful for the policy because “the first weeks are critical.” As the parent of a special needs-son, she said parental leave helped her and her wife, Andrea, navigate a difficult time. “Companies should be more sensitive to that, especially to more atypical situations like ours,” she told CNBC. She stressed that the policy is a win-win for employees and employers,” since she was able to ease back into work without feeling too overwhelmed. “When things are going well at home, I do better at work. The two co-exist,” she added.

Read the full story at CNBC.


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