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Employees at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, will be able to enjoy up to one year of paid time with their newborns during the child’s first year after birth or adoption starting next year.
The announcement comes just a few months after Netflix, Adobe, and Microsoft announced similar leave policies, and the Gates Foundation joins the ranks of Google and Facebook in offering extremely generous parental leave.
“This will enable parents to participate more fully in their children’s lives, while also allowing them the flexibility and financial certainty to meet the needs of their growing families,” Steven Rice, the foundation’s chief human resources officer, wrote in a statement posted on LinkedIn Friday.
“Ultimately, our parental leave program is focused on healthier babies, parents who are able to thrive professionally, and strong and resilient families,” he continued.
The philanthropic organization founded by Bill and Melinda Gates works to improve the quality of life for individuals around the world, and it advocates especially for women and children.
In a Medium article posted last month, Melinda Gates, a mother of three and cochair of the Foundation, says this is the most important investment our society can make: “When we invest in women and children, we are investing in a healthier, more prosperous future for everyone.”
In an Parents oped, she notes paid parental leave has been linked to higher birth weights and lower rates of infant mortality, long-term emotional health of both parents and children, and greater engagement from fathers and professional opportunity for mothers.
The foundation previously offered three months of paid parental leave, according to Glassdoor, and a minimum of three weeks’ vacation in addition to 10 observed holidays, 3 personal days, and 12 sick days, according to the foundation’s Jobs page. The new benefit will be available to more than 1,300 full-time foundation employees.
Rice also announced all employees could take unlimited time off without having to worry about accrued sick leave or vacation time, “returning to work more focused and able to take on the foundation’s boldest aspirations.”