Bank of America Expands Parental Leave

The financial giant announced on Wednesday that parents there would soon be able to take 16 weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, Matt Turner reports at Business Insider:

In addition, staff can take 10 weeks off unpaid, for a total of 26 weeks away within the 12 months after a child arrives. The new parental leave policy also offers flexibility, meaning that a staff member could take eight weeks off, return to work for three weeks, and then take another eight weeks off. The changes will take effect April 4. …

Numerous banks have been changing their parental-leave policies of late. Goldman Sachs provides 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, according to its website, and last year it increased its paid parental leave for nonprimary parents to four weeks. Morgan Stanley provides 16 weeks of paid parental leave to primary caregivers. JPMorgan last year upped fully paid parental leave for primary caregivers in the US to 16 weeks from 12. Citi offers 13 weeks of pregnancy leave and two weeks of parental leave for secondary caregivers.

The Huffington Post’s Emily Peck observes that Bank of America’s policy stands out among those of its peers in one important respect:

One thing that’s not changing at BofA: men and women are entitled to the same amount of leave. Adoptive parents are also covered. Credit Suisse announced a similarly flexible, gender-neutral parental leave policy last November.

These banks stand out among their peers in the finance industry, which has been slow to turn parental leave into a benefit meant for both men and women. Most bank policies seem crafted for a time when bankers (read: men) had a spouse (woman) at home full-time — not for the modern era, when nearly half of all parents raising kids at home together both work.

Goldman Sachs, Citi and JPMorgan all offer eight to 16 weeks off to someone they call a “primary parent,” a designation that often translates to “mother.” For example, Goldman offers 16 weeks paid maternity leave and four weeks paid leave to a nonprimary parent.