Barclays Expands Leave, Adds Flexibility for New Parents in US

Barclays Expands Leave, Adds Flexibility for New Parents in US

The American division of Barclays announced a new policy on Wednesday that grants “non-primary caregivers” substantially more parental leave and gives primary caregivers more flexibility in when they are allowed to take theirs. Non-primary caregivers (which among opposite-sex couples usually means fathers) are now entitled to six weeks’ paid leave “following their child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement,” compared to just one week before. Primary caregivers are still allowed 16 weeks’ leave, but now have the option of taking it in two segments rather than one big chunk, within the first year. Secondary caregivers are also allowed to take their leave in two parts.

The new policy also expands benefits for employees who are called to active duty military service, who will now receive “100 percent of their Barclays pay, less any military pay offset, for up to five years while under an approved Military Leave.”

Barclays’ new policy makes it the latest in a line of banks to introduce family leave policies more conducive to co-parenting. Goldman Sachs, which also gives primary parents 16 weeks, expanded their offering for secondary caregivers from two to four weeks last June. Fidelity adopted a policy in March that allows 16 weeks to mothers who have just given birth and six weeks to all other new parents.

Bank of America and Credit Suisse have gender neutral policies, giving all new parents the same amount of leave regardless of their gender or primary/secondary caregiver status. Supporters of gender-neutral policies argue that they encourage fathers to take a more active role in parenting, reducing the childcare burden on mothers, and also mitigate the “motherhood penalty” and the gender pay gap.