As millennials and young Generation Xers take over the workplace, they are demanding a new breed of benefits such as paid leave for new parents. Companies that want to hang onto them are listening.
Wells Fargo is one of the latest companies to announce it plans to offer up to 16 weeks of paid leave. The San Francisco-based bank also said last week it will allow workers to take up to five consecutive days off to care for a family member with a serious illness and up to five days a year to care for an adult.
The nation's third-largest bank, with about 20,000 employees in its Minnesota hub, is part of a recent surge among larger corporations to expand family leave policies.
Twitter also last week announced it would offer new parents 20 weeks of paid time off, a decision that came on the heels of many other well-known technology companies — including Facebook and Netflix — that have recently chosen to beef up their workplace benefits.
"It seems to be a hot topic," said David Delahanty, a partner with the business management consultant firm Aon Hewitt in Bloomington. "More employers are considering it every year, and numbers are rising every year."
The United States is the only major industrialized nation that doesn't provide paid leave for new mothers and fathers. Some cities and states are adding policies for their workers. New York City and San Francisco recently passed laws guaranteeing paid parental leave. Larger organizations are leading the way for now, though the numbers are still small, according to Aon's most recent research into paid leave.
About a quarter of employers in its survey now offer paid paternity leave. About 27 percent offer paid adoption leave and 18 percent offer paid maternity leave beyond short-term disability.
At Wells Fargo, company officials said in a statement it hopes the expanded benefit programs will "support the well-being and financial health" of its employees.
The new benefits kick in June 1 and are available to full- and part-time employees who have worked there for at least a year.