Brains on Fire recently purchased a building in The Village of Greenville, South Carolina. During our initial design stage, I met with a group of ladies we later dubbed “The Fertile Myrtles” to discuss how they’d like to see the office renovated to best incorporate future babies, nursing areas and space for babies while the moms worked.
While all this was great discussion, my biggest takeaway from the conversation was that our employees didn’t understand that we did not have paid maternity leave, as is the case with the majority of small businesses. Yes, I go over this very scenario with every new employee during orientation, but most hadn’t had a baby while working at Brains and didn’t apply to them at the time.
So we changed our focus from creating a baby-friendly environment to ways we could structure a maternity leave that fit our size of company. I studied companies like Adobe who have the most aggressive and robust Parental Leave Program I’ve ever seen. I studied other B Corps like Badger Balm, who have amazing family workplace policies. Along the way, I saw example after example of companies dedicating space and time for parents to be parents.
We wholeheartedly agree.
Babies are only babies for seconds in the life-cycle of parenthood. It’s a HUGE and AMAZING bonding time when families set the groundwork for a healthy and happy family. There isn’t a person at Brains that doesn’t want our parents to have the time they need with their baby to become a happy family unit.
Our prior policy used only short-term disability, which paid for 60% of salary for moms up to a set amount for six weeks or longer after birth (depending on whether the baby is delivered via natural childbirth or C-Section.) It didn’t account for adoption by employees or consider who was the primary or non-primary care giver, regardless of gender.
We needed a new policy.
Brains on Fire agreed to cover the other 40% of salary during six full weeks of time after birth or placement. We agreed, as a company, to share the workload amongst each other for new parents. We want to know our future BOF babies had their parents during their very first and most important stage of development, bonding and adjustment to a brand, new cycle of life.
I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or if you’d like to receive a copy of our Parental Leave Policy. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.