With employee satisfaction and retention a top priority in the hotel industry, companies are making parental leave policy changes to reflect what their workers want.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Corporate parental leave policies have come into the spotlight in the past year, as companies expand their allowances to include more time off and less-strict definitions of who can take leave.
It’s happening in the hotel industry as well. Hilton Worldwide Holdings changed its parental leave policy this year. The new benefits give birth mothers an additional eight weeks of paid maternity leave, increasing the amount of fully paid maternity leave from two weeks to ten weeks. The new policy also states that fathers and adoptive parents, who previously received no paid leave, now receive two weeks of paid leave.
Hilton’s announcement about its more generous parental leave policies came on the heels of similar proclamations from big-name companies like Netflix, Microsoft, Adobe, and Goldman Sachs, but Hilton’s changes are particularly newsworthy as the policy extends not just to its salaried workers, but also its hourly workers, who make up 75% of the 40,000 employees at Hilton’s corporate offices and owned and managed properties across the U.S. who are affected by the policy.
“We recognized an opportunity to make significant enhancements to our parental leave benefits that would reach all levels of the company, including our hourly team members,” said Matt Schuyler, Hilton’s EVP and chief human resources officer.
Schuyler said staff feedback provided the biggest impetus for the change, which was a way to provide even more support and flexibility to employees and their families.
“We frequently ask our team members for feedback and suggestions on the programs and benefits that we offer,” he said. “And through our survey results, we recognized that the one area that matters most to them is flexibility.”
Michele Sarkisian, president and CEO of P3 Advisors, an Atlanta-based consultancy that deals with human resources issues, said more and more businesses are taking their employees’ needs to heart.
“Companies are paying attention to what their employees want and need to be productive and fulfilled,” she said, “particularly as the ‘war for talent’ continues to grow as our employment rate has improved.”
Schuyler said the ability to hire and keep top-rate workers is a welcome bonus.
“By providing industry-leading benefits in the areas that matter most to our team members, it helps us attract and retain great talent,” he said.
Robert Rauch, CEO of RAR Hospitality, which oversees two Hilton properties in San Diego County, California, said the policy was a landmark decision for hotel employees.
“The importance of this policy is paramount as our company’s culture promotes an environment that balances the family-work predicament so many of us face on a daily basis,” he said.
The bottom line, though, Sarkisian said, is the policy change significantly improves employee satisfaction.