For recent graduates and veteran specialists in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, jobs are a dime a dozen. So, companies need to set themselves apart from their competitors in order to attract and retain qualified workers.
Schneider Electric, which among many other things is one of the largest data center infrastructure suppliers, just announced changes to its Family Leave Policy designed to benefit current and future employees in their quest to create a healthy balance between work and personal lives. The new policy introduces a comprehensive benefits package to significantly improve its workers’ ability to maintain their careers, while supporting their families. Effective immediately, employees based in North America are eligible for:
- 12 weeks of fully paid leave for primary care-giver (birth or adoption)
- 2 weeks of fully paid leave for secondary care-giver (birth or adoption)
- 1 week of bereavement for immediate family
- 1 week of leave to care for elder or critically-ill family member (starting January 2018)
- 2 floating days that can be used for cultural activities
“Our refined family-leave policy ensures our employees have more paid time off when they need it, allowing them to avoid having to make a choice between work and their family. The well-being of our staff is our highest priority and we’re proud to champion this issue as part of our goal to be best-in-class in every area of our organization,” said Annette Clayton, president and CEO, North America Operations, Schneider Electric.
Earlier this year, the company made family leave policy and medical plan updates in support of the company’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. Its paid family leave policy provides paid time off for primary and secondary care givers regardless of gender, and supports LGBT community members who choose to adopt. Additionally, Schneider Electric’s medical plan now covers gender reassignment surgery as part of its comprehensive benefits package.
Schneider also addressed the fact that men make up 14 percent more of today’s workforce than women, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the reasons why. As the primary caregivers for children, women often leave careers to raise families. Those who choose to return much later in life usually lack the skills necessary to work in a more advanced, modern world—especially in a continually evolving industry like technology.
That’s why Schneider Electric said it is collaborating with iRelaunch, a leader in career reentry programming, to introduce an internship program in the U.S. focused on helping women with smooth returns to the workforce. This applies to women who take voluntary career breaks after more than three years and have more than five years of work experience in a manufacturing field prior to their break. The types of roles in the program include quality engineer, materials analyst, manufacturing engineer, manufacturing supervisor and support function roles.
"It has become increasingly difficult for women to reenter the workforce after a career break, whether that’s due to child rearing or fulfilling other family obligations. Our collaboration with iRelaunch helps women better maintain their careers to ensure we as an industry can tap into female talent from both traditional and non-traditional career paths,” added Clayton.