Flexible Leave Policy at Tilson Technology
Flexible leave policy can contribute to success in attracting and retaining employees. A flexible leave policy can be a bit of a minefield for human resources professionals to navigate. Congress is debating whether to fund parental leave policies from Social Security or through a new bipartisan bill. Employers have ratcheted-up implementing new and innovative benefits to stay competitive in the search for talent. Forward-thinking leave policies have made a difference for parents, members of the military and others who need to take a temporary leave from work.
Employee Benefit News recently spotlighted one employer that is thinking outside the box when it comes to implementing a flexible leave policy. The company is Tilson Technology Management, a telecommunications company based in Portland, Maine. Tilson recently implemented four new leave policies in the hopes of attracting new talent to its ranks, according to EBN.
The company now provides paid benefits for military leave and a gradual return to work. In addition, Tilson updated its paid maternal leave policy to cover both parents. The company told its 550 employees of the change in March.
According to Tilson executives quoted in the EBN article, the company’s leave policies have always been flexible. These changes merely clarify the flexible leave policy. In addition, the company has experienced tremendous growth over the past year, going from 100 to 550 employees. Tilson wants to recognize its employees for their contributions; to that end, enhancing their flexible leave policy seemed like an intuitive and logical move.
In addition, Tilson plans to continue to expand its employee base and hopes the new flexible leave policy will help to attract new talent as well as retain existing employees. The company calls it “work-life integration” — a creative and progressive-minded twist on the concept of work-life balance.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the Tilson flexible leave policy:
- Under the new military leave policy, members of the Army Reserves and National Guard get 15 days of fully paid leave. Active military members don’t typically receive paid leave in the private sector, according to a Tilson executive quoted in EBN. Public sector jobs automatically provide paid military leave, but private sector companies can choose whether to offer it or not. Tilson’s paid military leave policy ensures that active duty members of the military can continue to meet their financial obligations while serving.
- Tilson’s gradual return to work flexible leave policy allows approved employees to receive three weeks of full-time pay while working part-time. The benefit was designed for employees who have been out of the office for more than 12 weeks on disability or parental leave.
- The company also “rebranded” its maternity leave policy as parental leave. While the previous policy provided mothers with 12 weeks of paid leave at 60% of their salary; the new policy covers employees and their spouse. Under the new program, the child’s primary caregiver gets 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave; the non-primary caregiver gets four weeks of paid leave. The family gets to decide which role each parent will fulfill, according to the company. Tilson’s workforce is composed of many “non-traditional families,” and the company didn’t want any of its employees to feel excluded. As such, it intentionally left any gender-specific language out of the policy. Tilson joined the ranked of some of the most recent employers to add a parental leave policy, including VF Corp, Reynolds American, Eataly, XPO Logistics and Unum.
- Tilson’s unpaid caregiving flexible leave policy covers workers who don’t qualify for FMLA-mandated leave. It offers two weeks of unpaid leave for caring for an elderly parent or sick pet, for example.
Clearly, employers are thinking differently about employee benefits, particularly when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. Revising or rebranding a flexible leave policy may be one way to increase the competitiveness of your benefits package and show your employees that you appreciate them and support their ability to meet their personal obligations outside of work.
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