Flexibility is important for all workers, but it’s especially valued by new parents. That’s why corporate maternity and parental leave policies are under increasing scrutiny.

But instead of waiting until they are forced to offer better benefits by government mandate, some companies are choosing to take action on their own, hoping to set an example that other businesses will follow.

Aeroflow Looks to Set Example with New Parental Leave Policy

One example of taking this proactive approach to the problem is provided by Aeroflow Healthcare, a North Carolina-based provider of durable medical equipment.

Aeroflow announced late last year that it was expanding its parental leave policy in order to “enhance support of employees as they welcome new children into their home and local community.”

In the company’s announcement, Aeroflow founder and CEO Casey Hite said its work with new and expecting mothers provided clear understanding of “the importance of giving families the time resources and support needed to bond with new children — whether adopted or biological.

“We believe it is our responsibility to set a strong example for other businesses in North Carolina and throughout the country, and this announcement represents just the first step in the company’s efforts to expand maternity and parental paid leave and better support employees and their families.”

The new policy extends maternity leave to six weeks of paid time off. It also covers the costs of a postpartum doula, a full year of free diapers and a personal breast pump with accessories. Aeroflow Breastpumps is a subsidiary of Aeroflow Healthcare.

The company’s policy also extends some benefits to parents who are adopting a child.

Daniel Polich, senior recruiter at Aeroflow Healthcare, was the primary writer for the new policy. He said in an email interview that employees were excited about the update from the company’s previous policy, which offered two weeks of paid maternity leave.

“The reaction towards the new maternity and parental leave policy has been outstanding,” Polich said. “Employee morale is up, and the effects this policy has on recruiting and retention will be phenomenal. Aeroflow cares about their employees, and this is just another policy to show that.”

In deciding to make the change, he said, the company considered it an investment, as opposed to an added expense.

“Providing this kind of support is not only the right thing to do, but also it attracts job candidates, improves employee retention, and increases productivity,” he said. “We believe that the happiness of our employees is worth the added expense.”

Many companies find that offering flexible work options makes employees happier, healthier, and more productive, so Aeroflow is not alone in making that connection. The company will continue to “stay flexible in order to offer benefits that parents really need,” Polich said, and he hopes other businesses will consider doing the same.

“If we can expand our parental leave policy, we believe anyone can,” he said. “Currently, paid parental leave is practically non-existent. Families are only promised 12 weeks unpaid leave. Our hope is this policy will help set a new minimum standard for paid parental leave. … We hope more companies realize there are benefits for both company and employee to offer paid parental leave.”

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