Thursday, July 7, 2016

Seattle mayor proposes more paid leave for city employees with newborns, ill family members. What about Microsoft's suppliers in the Puget Sound area?

Read the article in the Seattle Times by Patricia Madej. The proposed plan would extend paid parental leave to 8 weeks (from the present 4 weeks):  "a move that coincides with a nationwide conversation on paid leave." Lionbridge Technologies adamantly refuses to join this conversation. At our last collective bargaining meeting when we asked about paid parental leave their attorney's shocked answer was "absolutley not!'. That's how out of touch and without empathy they are.
Since August 5, 2015 Microsoft provides at least 12 weeks of fully paid paid parental leave to it's 'direct' employees.
Fidelity Investments (the main Lionbridge shareholder) also has such a policy: 'Employees who give birth can take 16 weeks of fully paid Maternity Leave. Associates with a spouse/partner that gives birth, or who are adopting or fostering a child can take 6 weeks of fully paid Parental Leave.'
All Microsoft's suppliers should provide similar benefits. Fidelity Investments should care about how employees are treated in companies where they invest. We want to take hope in Satya Nadella's insistence on empathy, as expressed in this interview with Chicago Booth Magazine and other recent instances:
"When I’ve had my failures—when I’ve been impatient or not listened to someone—it was because I didn’t enlist my sense of empathy. Empathy helps me understand what others expect, what they need to succeed, and what the authentic ways are to communicate. We’re all  social beings. "
Seattle Councilmember M. Lorena González said that she hopes to set an example for private companies. 

A plan proposed Wednesday by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the majority of the City Council means that city employees could see considerable time off to spend with newborns or sick family members, a move that coincides with a nationwide conversation on paid leave.
The plan would: extend the city’s four-week paid parental leave to eight weeks; give city workers four weeks of paid family leave; and reorganize and provide additional training within the city’s human-resources department. Councilmember M. Lorena González, who will sponsor the plan, said it is the council’s way of tackling a national issue. The United States is one of only three countries that doesn’t guarantee some form of paid parental leave. “This is, once again, Seattle stepping into an area we believe we can be progressive leaders,” González said. Seattle approved its current four-week plan. The proposal, which could cost about $2.9 million, grew out of a recommendation from the city’s “Workforce Equity Strategic Plan.” The City Council hopes to consider it in August. Jeff Reading, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, said there were many interviews and surveys with city employees taken into account. “We are taking steps to improve equity in access to city employment for potential new hires, and in the career development of our existing employees,” Murray said in a statement. “And, we want to ensure that all city employees can afford to be there when their families need them the most, whether it’s welcoming a new child into the family or caring for an ailing family member.” The eight- and four-week leaves are a minimum. Combined with vacation and sick days, city employees could get an average of 16 weeks for parental leave and 14 weeks for family leave.
González said that she hopes to set an example for private companies. “This is a model for us to pursue in the private sector and I think that by leading on it and walking our own walk, we are sending a clear message to private sector that we hold ourselves to a high standard,” she said. Though it’s still early days, González said she’s confident that this plan will become a reality. “I expect that we will continue to have discussion and make sure that we are able to pass this legislation,” she said. “But it’s pretty clear that there’s a significant amount of support in City Council to move forward with this proposal.”

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