Apple today has announced a new benefit that is meant to help new parents transition back to work after their time off. As reported by Fast Company, Apple is giving new parents a “four-week grace period” when they return from leave.
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Under the policy and during the four-week grace period, the new parents will be paid like full-time employees, but will have the flexibility to work part-time and set their own hours. The benefit applies to all new parents, including those who adopt or take in foster children.
Additionally, Apple is increasing the support it provides to parents who adopt. Apple will now offset adoption-related costs by $14,000 — nearly triple the the previous amount. Adoptive parents also get an extra four weeks of paid time off through Apple’s Paid Family Care benefit.
Apple has traditionally offered 16 weeks of paid leave to birth parents, which is in line with other tech companies. This new four-week grace period is an added benefit on top of that. These benefits are all available to retail employees, too.
Deirdre O’Brien Apple’s VP of retail and people told Fast Company that the changes were made after she talked to new parents, particularly women, about the challenges they faced when returning to work.
“What we find a lot of times is people are really excited to get back to work,” says O’Brien, Apple’s head of retail and human resources. “At the same time, they feel like they need to make sure things are really stable and successful at home. And that weighs heavy on people’s minds, I think.
“I think many times working parents feel like they need to deal with that quietly and make it seem perfectly seamless,” O’Brien says. “We all know life is complicated. So we’re making it really clear that we’re supporting them in that journey.”
In addition to these changes, Apple is also expanding the mental wellness benefits it makes available to employees. The company is doubling the number of free counseling sessions available to employees every year, and providing new telemedicine options for increased flexibility.
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