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Our New Family Leave Benefit: Supporting Your Best Work and Family Life

6 min read

At Float, we work asynchronous-remote. This means we have the flexibility to plan our workweek in a way that is most productive and makes the most of our individual time.

One of our team objectives for 2022 is to enable a better work life, and we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach in doing so. A best work life looks different for all of us, including how we spend time with our families.

Amer cycling with his family in the hills of Bosnia-Herzegovina

That's why we're introducing a new family leave policy that is more fair, inclusive, and flexible. We're now offering 16 weeks of paid leave for all new family additions (including adoption), with three flexible leave plans that can be scheduled within the first year.

Updating our perks to meet the needs of our team

As a bootstrapped, profitable, and growing business, we have the resources and agility to revise our P&Bs (perks and benefits) as our team continues to grow. For example, we recently added a week-long holiday to allow our team to fully decompress from all things work-related at the end of the year. We've also increased our salary benchmarking to 95% of the 50th percentile San Francisco SaaS pay (up from the previous 90% benchmark).

When we were a smaller team with just a few young families, paid parental leave hadn't always been a top priority in our P&B reviews (despite me having had my own paid parental leave experience in 2020!). Historically we offered just two weeks of paid leave. Fast forward to 2022, however—our team has grown to 35+ people—and we are welcoming more children into the broader Float family.

Ultimately, we want to support team members with new families to truly enjoy those special early moments together in a way that feels most meaningful to them.

Designing a family leave benefit that's fit for Float

How we value and make the most of our family time is different for everyone. Having recently taken maternity leave myself, I know that even within my mothers group, time off looks very different from one person to the next.

As a global remote company, our team is very diverse, and we need a family leave policy that fits Float and supports our team to live their best work life (wherever that may be).

Learning from others

As a first step, we conducted a review of our SaaS peers and like-minded global remote teams. We found that teams like BaseCamp, Buildkite, and HelpScout generally provide 12-24 weeks of paid family leave. While the quantity of paid time off is certainly an important element, we were also inspired by companies that thoughtfully designed policies that offered more.

For example, Buffer changed its leave policy in 2017 to ensure that all parents were treated the same, regardless of gender or sexual identity. A Glassdoor review for Loom shared an employee's experience taking 20 weeks of paid leave, plus an additional three weeks of transition time. The team at HelpScout has also offered some sound advice on ways to think about supporting working parents, including transitioning parents back to work.

In my personal experience, I initially transitioned back into the flow of things by working one day a week for a few of months and then eventually back up to three days. We liked the idea of building in transition time and having a policy that enables team members to continue with (or return to) work as it suits them. Parenthood is a life-changing event, and we're mindful of fully acknowledging and supporting this as best as we can.

Motherhood is as equally rewarding as it is challenging! 😁

Creating a policy for our team

A few key themes stood out to us from the research—accessibility, equality, and flexibility.

  • Accessibility: Our team is still growing, and we want to be the leader in SaaS for enabling a best work life. That means supporting our team to be able to make the most of their time outside of work. We landed on 16 weeks of paid parental leave.
  • Equality: We debated the use of primary and secondary carer language and the implications they carried. We spoke to friends, family members, and ex-colleagues across other industries for their perspectives. Annabel Crabb's essay gave weight to the idea of degendering parental leave policies and desegregating the roles of primary and secondary carers. If we really want to see more equality in the workplace, Crabb says that "it isn't just about the rules that are in play, it's the practice." We opted for a simple policy that applies equally for all new additions (including adoption) and to all parents (without primary or secondary carer conditions). The aim is to promote behaviors that challenge the traditional norms around parental leave participation.
  • Flexibility: For us, work flexibility is built on autonomy and trust. Our team can choose the hours they work best, and we trust them to do so. The same applies to our family leave policy. Some parents might like to take the 16 weeks upfront, while others prefer a hybrid approach. We want to give our team the ability to choose a parental leave plan that's best for their family. We landed on three plans that can be scheduled within the first year.
Announcing our new family leave benefit at the 2021 Q4 Remote Roadshow

Flexible family leave plans

With up to 16 weeks of paid leave available for parents for all new additions to a family, including adoption and surrogacy, we have three leave plans that the team can choose from—upfront leave, ordered leave, and extended leave.

Upfront leave

This one is simple. Take up to 16 weeks of paid leave upfront when your new family member arrives.

Example: Take 16 weeks off when your child arrives, and then return back to your role.

Ordered leave

Schedule up to 16 weeks of regular leave to spend with your family over the first 12 months after arrival. This arrangement is suited to those who want to take time with family and also continue to work. As the leave schedule is planned well in advance, it is easy to plan around with your team.

Example: Take an initial eight weeks off when your child arrives and then come back to work at half-capacity, e.g., 2.5 days per week for 16 weeks.

Extended leave

Up to 16 weeks of paid leave that can be extended for up to 12 months by also taking unpaid leave. For those who want more time away from work to spend with their family, we can space out your paid family leave across the entire 12-month leave period.

Example: Take 32 weeks off at half-pay, or take a year off and receive half-pay for the first 32 weeks.

Making the most of our time with new family members

We had an opportunity to challenge traditional workplace norms around parenting and enact a policy that promotes positive work-life balance behaviors. However, a policy is only as effective as the behavior that it encourages and inspires.

We believe that a best work life is one by self-design, and we're here to support our team to do just that. That includes helping our team make the most of their time and cherishing the special early moments with a new family member. We're passionate about maximizing our opportunities as an asynchronous remote team to provide perks and benefits that support our team to live their best work life.

With our new family leave benefit, we're excited to see the Float family continue to grow!

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