Ford doubles parental leave in effort to 'put people first'

- Johanna Paul and her husband have a two year old at home and a little girl being born in just two weeks.  

"I want to make sure I can be a model for my future daughter"

She's already proud to say she's a dedicated Ford Motor Company employee and a dedicated mother. That's about to become easier for new moms and dads at Ford. The auto company is doubling the amount of time off  it gives new moms and dads. 

"It extends leave now by six weeks which is huge...When I come back I can go part time and ease my way back in. So by the time she will be about four months or I'll be in a good swing of things," Paul said.

Starting Thursday, a new policy goes into effect. Materinity and paternity leave was 6-8 weeks. Employees then got an additional two weeks of parent days. They've now increased that by six weeks. So now, Ford salaries workers can get anywhere from 14-16 weeks of time off to take care of their new family. The new employee plan also gives nursing mothers something less to worry about.  They'll ship a mother's milk to business trip destinations. It also allows sick leave to be used for taking care of family members in need.

Does it cost money to do this?  

"It does but it's also the right thing to do. And that's really what we are focused on. We started a new cultural movement and one of the key truths, as we call them, is to put people first," Kiersten Robinson, chief human resources officer for Ford, said.

The head of HR is excited to unveil the new plan, but not as excited as Ford's Minyang Jiang, who will be delivering her first baby on December 1.

"My husband who also works at Ford well also have those new parent days so really between the two of us we have 18 weeks that we can devote to our family and to the new baby and to transitioning back to work," she said.

One new part of the policy allows new parents to work part time and still get full time pay when they come back.  

"Often you're the most financially stressed at that time as well and being transition back to work in a supportive way where you have the flexibility that you need, knowing that your career is still there for you and we're both very career oriented people it's extremely important," Jiang said. 

"We were saying your life outside of work is really important because we want the whole employee," Robinson said.

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