Net Health is ahead of the curve when it comes to paid parental leave. The company offers five weeks of fully paid maternity and paternity leave in the event of a new birth, adoption, or becoming a foster parent.
A generous and equal parental leave policy provides a multitude of benefits to working moms and dads, including increased job and financial security for families, reduced homelife stress, and a better work/life balance. Extending equal parental leave benefits to fathers also lifts some pressure off mothers, who often feel they must forego their careers in order to stay home with a new child.
Times Are Changing
Given the United States remains behind every other modern country in terms of offering paid leave to mothers and fathers, Net Health leaders are welcoming the opportunity to be at the forefront of change.
For Net Health’s CIO Jason “JJ” James, supporting equal parental leave for moms and dads is as much about leading by example as it is about a company’s actual policy. As a recent second-time father, JJ took paternity leave to support his wife and children in the middle of the global pandemic.
“My wife had to have a c-section,” he says. “That meant for six weeks she couldn’t pick up our 2-year-old. (In a COVID world), we had limited options in bringing outside assistance to care for a toddler and a newborn. Being home and supporting my wife was something I had to do.
“I’m a big proponent of men taking a larger role in raising their children. It starts with taking parental leave after the birth. From a CIO perspective, it means effective succession planning.”
JJ worked with his team and direct reports over the course of nine months to prepare them for his paternity leave. He felt grateful not only to his own team, but also for the support of the rest of Net Health’s executive team in the process.
“If you have the right people in place, the ship keeps going,” he says. “As a leader, being able to step away from your duties doesn’t make you less of a leader; it serves as proof of why you were chosen to lead.”
Breaking The Stigma
Despite companies like Net Health offering paid paternity leave, statistics show that less than half of men take all their available time off. JJ agrees this is a reflection of a stigma around the role of fathers in America, and this is a long-overdue change:
“My hope is that when we fast forward a decade, parental leave will be commonplace and more fathers will be taking it,” he says. “I want to break the stigma of parental leave for men. My father’s generation was never in the delivery room for the birth of their children. It would now be frowned upon for not being in the room. I want that same mindset to change for parental leave. It needs to be so commonplace people would ask, ‘Why didn’t you take it?’”
For JJ, as well as for other Net Health employees, having the ability to take time off work when venturing into parenthood is what allows them to continue performing at their very best, both in their personal and professional lives. A supportive work culture to back up their parental leave policy is another facet of what makes Net Health who they are – a company that not only talks the talk but also walks the walk.