In the United States, paid leave for new mothers and fathers is not a benefit that every company offers and this can often add to the stress of welcoming a new child to the world. In an effort to help out its employees, Microsoft is giving new parents more time to spend at home without having to worry about their employment.
Starting November 1st, Microsoft is increasing parental leave to 12 weeks with 100% salary coverage for all mothers and new fathers; birth mothers, get an additional 8 weeks for a total of 20 weeks paid leave. In addition, Microsoft will allow expectant birth mothers to take Short-Term Disability Leave during the two weeks prior to their scheduled due date to make sure the transition of welcoming a child into the world goes smoothly.
In addition to boosting paternity and maternity leave, Microsoft is increasing 401(k) match from 50 percent of the first 6 percent that employees defer, to 50 percent of all regular deferrals; IRS limits this this deferral at $18,000 a year which means employees can get an addition $9,000 in contributions to their 401(k) from the company.
These changes to Microsoft's benefits are designed to do two things: 1) Retain employees by offering benefits that are at least equal to, or better than their competitors 2) Attract new talent from organizations who many not offer these types of benefits. In a world where retaining top talent can be difficult, benefits are one way to offer additional perks that can keep an employee from jumping ship.