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works with many tech firms in Northern Virginia and that about 90 percent now have paid parental leave.


No joke at The Motley Fool The financial services industry is


another sector in the vanguard of change. Employees at Bank of America, for exam- ple, are eligible for up to 16 weeks of paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave and are given flexible schedules for the 12 months after a child arrives. The company also reimburses up to $8,000 in adoption expenses. In Virginia, the parental leave policy at


the Alexandria-based investment services company The Motley Fool is hard to top. The Fool, as it calls itself, allows its 330 employees to take 16 weeks of paid parental leave and as much as 12 weeks of paid family medical leave, says Christine Noonan, the head of human resources. “We have fun and work at the same


time,” Noonan says. “We don’t microman- age. We treat people like adults.” The Fool recently won a Game Changer Award from the Virginia Center for Health Innovation for its employee benefits program. Farther south, in Henrico County,


another white-collar business, Elephant Insurance, recently adopted a new parental leave policy for its 600 employees. It now pays new mothers 40 percent of their salary for the first six weeks of leave (eight weeks if they have a cesarean birth), says Louisa Scadden, head of the company’s people services. Short-term disability insurance covers the other 60 percent for those employees who elect to carry the insurance. For employees who have been with


Elephant for more than a year, paid leave is extended to 12 weeks, with the company picking up the whole tab after disability insurance runs out. The primary-care parents additionally receive an extra week of leave during their first year back to tend to family matters and are paid a bonus of two weeks’ salary after six months. Their spouses or partners receive two weeks off at full pay, as well. “We don’t anticipate a huge change to


the bottom line,” Scadden says of the new policy. “If anything, we expect we’ll save money.” That belief is becoming more com-


mon in the private sector, but any law requiring paid parental leave is unlikely anytime soon.


Employee Benefits


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