How companies play a role in advocating for working parents

Jenna Vassallo
May 22, 2024
Two colleagues chat at a conference table

Although more than 80% of voters support paid parental leave, the United States has yet to pass a mandate to provide it to working families.

With paid leave being one of the most sought after benefits candidates and employees look for, it puts a lot of pressure on companies to offer such benefits if they want to attract top talent.

Many companies want to create a satisfactory environment for working parents – both through paid parental leave policies and additional support for employees growing their families – but they struggle to figure out how to implement it.

Whether due to financial concerns or worries about how offering this time off will be too disruptive to the business, we’ve heard it all.

And this is why we love stories like Bobbie’s: a 200-employee organic formula company that provides employees with 16 weeks of paid parental leave and additional support to navigate the parental leave experience.

Sarah Hardy, co-founder and chief people and experience officer, says the company invests so much time in parental leave support “Because it matters. It matters to me personally. It matters to our team. It matters to our leadership team.”

Take Our Leave & Parents Push Harder: Two impactful campaigns

Bobbie first created its Take Our Leave program to provide other companies with a real example of a paid parental leave policy.

The company open-sourced its own parental leave policy with the intent to to prove it’s possible - even for small companies - to put something in place that’s affordable and supports employees.

Not only was this a beneficial tool for other organizations; it also built their inbound recruiting pipeline by 50% overnight, thus proving how important parental leave is to candidates and employees.

Its more recent campaign, the Parents Push Harder program, is based on the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act. If passed, this Act would guarantee a minimum monthly amount of $580 to families.

In partnership with athlete Naomi Osaka, who became a parent last year, this campaign offered $580 grants to 50 lucky applicants who explained the positive impact a federal program like it would have on their lives.

The company received 11,000 applications, and through a coalition of brands, partners and individuals who joined forces and shared resources, Bobbie was able to increase the number of grants 4x to support 200 families.

Practicing what they preach

What exactly does Bobbie offer through its parental leave policy?

Bobbie’s initial parental leave policy focused on the entire business—not just the expecting employee, but their managers and teams to ensure they and the business didn’t take the hit when an employee went on leave.

Expecting employees are assigned someone on the people team, and their managers remain front and center to collaborate on clear transition plans. And while the company offers 16 weeks of paid leave, employees can choose to extend their leave with up to eight months of unpaid leave for one full year of job-protected leave.

Because they’ve created this supportive culture, they hear much earlier than many other businesses when an employee is expecting. This breeds open and honest conversations about how they stretch to accommodate both the employee and the business.

“It requires intentionality and thought, wanting to do the right thing for your employees, and not dropping the ball on what you need to give managers to succeed,” Sarah said.

Bobbie’s paid parental leave policy and advocacy are making the transition to parenthood easier—and driving business results.

“When you do things that support parents, it’s not just about supporting individual parents in your organization,” Sarah said. “It’s about the halo effect it also has over the rest of your team and your external employer brand as well.”

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Hear more on Bobbie's advocacy work and how they implemented a policy that works for everyone

Listen to this episode of The False Tradeoff.