May brings thoughts of spring, flowers, and Mother’s Day. It’s a day to honor the mothers in our lives. While mothers are still viewed as the primary caretakers when it comes to raising children and taking care of the household, times are changing. More and more dads are taking over that role and parenting is more of a partnership.

This shift is causing organizations and HR to evaluate their traditional maternity leave programs and opt for more gender-balanced policies. Gender neutral parental leave policies are a great attraction tool, especially for millennials. The right policy is a reflection of your organization’s culture and values.

Here are a few examples from companies with generous parental leave policies

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Six months of paid parental leave and an additional $20,000 paid to the employee once returned to work. The funds are to help offset the cost of childcare or other expenses.


Six months of paid parental leave, which can be taken consecutively or in smaller periods over time, up until the child’s third birthday.


Four months of paid parental leave. While also extending the paid leave policy to offer 20 days paid leave for the loss of a family member, 10 days paid leave for the loss of an extended family member, and six weeks paid leave to care for a sick relative.


26 weeks of paid leave over two years following birth or adoption. The first eight weeks have to be taken during the first six months, then the remaining time can be spread out.


Up to one year of unlimited paid leave and they already offered unlimited paid time off.

Unfortunately, the US has not enacted family-friendly leave regulations that promote and support parents taking time to bond with their new children. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only provides job protection for up to 12 weeks, which is typically unpaid. The law does not mandate any paid leave and most only receive a salary through a disability claim. That is not even an option for new fathers or mothers who did not carry the child.

Companies are choosing to enact their own policies. They understand the benefits of gender-neutral parental leave policies that millennials are looking for. Take time this Mother’s Day to reevaluate your policies and make them a bit more inclusive.

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