Being a dad to two boys has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and I’m super thankful for them in my life. They restored my love for Legos, all things Disney, and playing video games. They amaze me daily on so many levels.
When I was first married and starting my career, kids were not on my radar or even something I wanted. Thinking about what it would mean for work if we did have kids just wasn’t a thing for me. Years later, my wife was pregnant, and it became a very real topic of conversation.
One of the biggest concerns was that my wife was the one that was providing health insurance for us. How will that affect us when she is off? How long can she take off and not interrupt her work? What does that look like when she goes back? It became something we needed to answer and quickly.
Fortunately, she was working for a corporation and had the minimum requirements to qualify for the FMLA benefit, but this isn’t the norm for most. The minimum requirement is working for a company with 50 or more employees, and you have to have worked 1,250 hours at the same business over the last 12 months. Meeting these requirements gives you non-paid parental leave for up to 12 weeks, not to mention this doesn’t include anything for the secondary caregiver, for which there is no federal law.
This Is Worth Addressing
This topic is important for multiple reasons. Having kids shouldn't be something that hinders your career, makes you fearful of losing your job, your health insurance, or something to stress over finances from being away from work. The list goes on.
There are studies upon studies that prove the first couple of months of the baby's life is when the most bonding happens, and many people have to get back to work too soon as they can because they can't afford the time off. This creates a problem for this bonding time, as well as getting acclimated to have this massive life change to a little human that isn’t sleeping and is in constant need of you.
Taking adequate time off is very healthy for both the baby and parents. Stressing about all of these extra details is not.
We want to make it better
After doing research, it was pretty incredible that as wealthy as our country is, we have the worst policies in place to protect new parents. At Underbelly, we want a policy that benefits the well-being of our team. We found Pledge Parental Leave, an organization that is helping set the standard for paid paternal leave benefits in the U.S. creative industry, which gave us insight into how we could make this happen.
Here is a summary of what we offer:
• Primary Caregiver gets 3 months of paid time
• Secondary Caregiver gets 1 month of paid time off
• 3 months of uninterrupted medical insurance
• 6 months of job security
• Paid time off for miscarriage
Having kids is hard, and we want to help alleviate some of the financial pressures by providing paid parental leave. We hope that working at Underbelly will never be a hindrance to growing your family.