How IGS Supports Growing Families
Think about the changes that have been most significant in your life. Perhaps a graduation, a big move, or a marriage comes to mind. If you have a child, the day you became a parent tops that list. Growing your family comes with countless joys and a complete shift in priorities. However, even though many recognize the weight of these changes, only 35% of organizations in the U.S. offer paid maternity leave. In addition, only 39% offer paid paternal leave and only 28% provide paid adoption leave, according to a 2018 report from the Society for Human Resource Management.
Here at IGS, being part of the 60-80% of organizations in this country not offering paid parental leave just didn’t sit right with us and how we believe we should be supporting our employees.
We must do better
“In 2017, we began offering paid parental leave. Becoming a parent, whether for the first time (or again), is a huge life event. This leave policy allows us to help our employees in an impactful way,” said Jenni Kovach, chief people officer of IGS. While some companies may choose to make this investment in an effort to reduce turnover, this wasn’t the motivation for IGS. “We identified a gap in our coverage and have a younger population with those planning growth of their families. We’re offering this benefit because it’s the right thing to do—it’s as simple as that,” said Kovach.
Prior to 2017, IGS’ new parents were able use their paid time off and/or 60% company-paid short-term disability to cover their time out of the office. Today, the parental leave is covered in full, beginning with the first day out of the office, with 40% paid by IGS, along with the 60% company-paid short-term disability, up to 10 weeks for birth mothers, and one week paid for non-birth parents.
28 parental leaves (non-birth parents), 16 maternity leaves in 2018
4 parental leaves so far in 2019
Though the company’s investment is significant, there was “not one moment of hesitation” on the part of IGS’ shareholders, when it came to approving the new parental leave plan, explained Hannah Frizzi, benefits lead at IGS.
Trevor Hervey, infrastructure administrator at IGS, and his wife recently welcomed a son in April 2018. Hervey used the parental leave benefit and said, “I’m incredibly grateful to be at a company that recognizes not only the importance of extended, paid maternity leave, but providing some time to fathers, as well—even when regulations say they don’t have to.”
“I started at IGS in January 2018 and soon after, I found out that I was expecting a baby. My team was wonderful and supportive throughout my pregnancy. Because I was employed for less than 12 months, I wasn’t able to use FMLA so I used 6 weeks of Short Term Disability to recover and stay home with my baby. When it was time to return, my team was very accommodating as I transitioned back. I worked half-days the week prior and felt great about starting work full-time afterwards. I am very thankful for the whole experience with IGS!”
-Neha Sharma, learning producer
“IGS’ parental leave provided me the time necessary to be with my son while also affording me the opportunity to advance my professional career. IGS made this such an easy and enjoyable process.”
-Haley Larson, branch coordinator
Support doesn’t stop when new parents return to the office
While the new parental leave benefit helps new parents financially as they bond with their new child or recover from childbirth, IGS’ support doesn’t stop there. “Returning parents are met with grace and flexibility,” said Frizzi. New pressures, like greater incidences of illness for children attending daycare, can require more time out of the office. “Since PTO is not required to be used for parental leave now, they can use this, as needed, too,” she said.
When employees return from leave, they also receive handmade, embroidered baby blankets with their child’s name on it. “It’s a small, yet meaningful gesture that parents really appreciate,” said Frizzi. Breastfeeding mothers also have dedicated access to a locked lactation room complete with a comfortable chair, dedicated refrigerator, and complimentary supplies.
What the future holds
Our employees’ response to the new leave policy has been very positive. However, Frizzi acknowledges that IGS’ work is not done. “We’re continuing to look at enhancements to ensure this benefit continues to meet the needs of our people.”
Learn more about IGS’ corporate culture and comprehensive benefits.