Add the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the small but growing list of companies who offer their workers paid long-term parental leave or unlimited time off.
In a statement posted to LinkedIn, Steven Rice, the foundation’s chief human resources officer, announced that the nonprofit organization’s new parental leave program would grant up to 52 weeks paid leave to mothers and fathers during the first year of their child’s birth or adoption.
According to the post, the new policy was introduced in order to “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.”
In addition, the foundation announced that its employees would have unlimited time off, no matter how much sick leave or vacation time they’ve accrued, so that they can return to work “more focused and able to take on the foundation’s boldest aspirations.”
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation currently employs 1,382 workers.
Less than 1% of U.S. companies currently offer unlimited paid time off, according to 2015 data from the Society of Human Resource Management. The benefit, which was once only offered by tech startups, is now also offered by General Electric and Virgin Group. The only other major U.S. company offering both a year’s parental leave and unlimited vacation is Netflix.
Foundation co-founder Melinda Gates, in an essay published on Medium only days before the foundation’s announcement, wrote, “Every cent invested in women and children delivers benefits across society.”