One year ago, I was six months pregnant with baby number two. That was when our president/CEO Jennifer Thompson made an exciting announcement that had an immediate impact on my growing family.
In our conference room, she read aloud a new leave policy:
“Thompson & Company Public Relations wants to support our team members if they choose to expand their families. If you’re a new parent – whether you gave birth or adopted – we want you to take time and enjoy the experience. We know team member needs vary, so we provide up to eight weeks of paid leave for moms and dads alike. We also know that returning to work can be abrupt, so we offer the opportunity to transition back over a four-week period with a combination of remote and on-site work. The return transition period should be worked out with your supervisor and approved before the beginning of your leave. Additionally, babies are welcome in the office for up to six months, as long as the employee is billable and productive and the baby isn’t interrupting others in the office.
For our small businesses to be able to drive the economy, we have to be able to recruit and retain the best talent. A robust benefits package – including a more progressive paid leave option – can be a differentiator that helps emerging businesses attract high-quality talent.”
For T&C, a boutique public relations firm with a staff of less than 20, the new policy added the agency to the ranks of big businesses. Similar to Fortune 500 companies that are offering paid family leave and flexible schedules. For my family, the leave policy meant that I could enjoy the first few months with a new baby girl. I also had no financial worries of not working. It also allowed me to return to a full-time career with my daughter Posey in tow. My transition back to work was incredibly smooth. My schedule was flexible. I could go in to the office or work remotely from home. This made the transition to life as a working mother of two a lot easier for me as well as my family. I was able to spend all day with Posey. And my coworkers enjoyed having her in the office, too. (Proof in the photos below.)
It really does “take a village” to raise a child. And today, the workplace should be part of that village. Not to help with childcare specifically, but to support our working mothers. Paid family leave policy is a smart policy that is proven to be good for business. Employees feel valued. Companies retain talent. I love working at a place where “family first” is on the list of our company’s Tenets & Convictions. A place where my employer wholeheartedly believes that when employees are supported, the workplace will benefit even more because of it.
– Abby Cooper, Anchorage office