When Linsey Fowler, a senior manager of software development at Amazon, started thinking about having a second child, she knew she could rely on the company’s decent paid leave but she thought they could do better, writes Rebecca Gale. “So Fowler, a member of the Amazon Women in Engineering leadership team… convened a meeting with a half-dozen other women.”
In Fowler’s basement, the women came up with a better version of a parental leave plan, one that included “more paid time off, easier transitions back to work, and leave options for moms and dads, birth parents and adoptive.”
In November 2015, less than a year after Fowler and her co-workers met, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos signed off and one of the most forward-thinking family paid leave plans in the country was implemented worldwide.
“Amazon’s benefits apply to all full-time employees,” notes Gale, “including more than 100,000 employees who work in customer service and at fulfillment centers.”
Perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of the plan, argues Gale, is the company’s leave share program—one which allows employees to share sick leave with one another or with a spouse, even if that spouse does not work for Amazon.
Essentially, Amazon is pioneering a new way to support its female employees by encouraging their partners to be more involved at home, and their doing so because the women of Amazon insisted.