Deloitte has announced that they will offer its employees 16 weeks of paid family leave for caregiving, a plan which the company calls “the first of its kind” among professional services firms. The expanded benefit, which is available starting this month, applies to both women and men and will include not only parental leave, but also caregiving for sick or elderly family members. In addition, birth mothers, if combining both maternity leave and short term disability, will now be eligible for up to six months of paid leave after having a child. Previously, Deloitte employees who were primary caregivers were eligible for eight weeks of paid leave, while non-primary caregivers were eligible for three weeks.
Speaking with Fortune’s Valentina Zarya, Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert said the move was focused on improving the overall well-being of their employees, as the firm wants to be known as a talent innovator. The Wall Street Journal‘s Rachel Emma Silverman adds:
A recent Deloitte survey of a thousand employees at other companies found that 88% of respondents wanted a broader leave policy beyond parental leave. Nearly 17% of Americans over age 18—about 40 million people—provide unpaid care to an adult, according to a report by the AARP Public Policy Institute and National Alliance for Caregiving.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for family members, but it doesn’t apply to all employers or workers. For instance, businesses with fewer than 50 employees and many part-time workers generally aren’t eligible.
Back in April, professional services firm Ernst & Young unveiled a plan that gave its male and female employees 16 weeks of parental leave. In May, Nike announced it would offer 8 weeks of paid caregiving leave.