Electronic Arts has expanded its parental leave programme for all of its US-based staff – including developers.
Previously, employees were permitted five weeks of paid time off after the birth or adoption of a child. Those working in California were the exception, with up to seven weeks of leave allowed.
Now, all workers will be able to book up to 10 full weeks off – thereby doubling the available leave for every state (minus California).
“Research shows that paid leave improves employee morale, retention and most importantly, has significant benefits for family health and wellness,” chief talent officer Gabrielle Toledano said in the online announcement of the change.
“At EA, we want to create a culture that inspires you to do the best work of your career, but we know you can only do that by having the flexibility and support to balance your career and personal life.”
President of the United States Barack Obama pushed for increased parental leave back in 2014, criticising the country as “the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers”.
Under the existing Family Medical Leave Act, companies with more than 50 employees must offer up to 12 weeks of annual parental leave – however, this is generally unpaid. However, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island do provide paid family leave via employee-paid payroll taxes.
Additionally, the International Labor Organisation highlighted America as one of only two countries – the other being New Guinea – that offers no cash benefits to women during maternity leave.