Facebook boosts bereavement leave to 20 days

Facebook has doubled its bereavement leave offerings, allowing employees up to 20 paid days of leave when an immediate family member passes away, and up to 10 days following an extended family member’s death.

“People should be able both to work and be there for their families,” chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a post on Facebook that announced the new policies. She began the post by noting how grateful she was for Facebook’s bereavement leave policy — previously 10 days for an immediate family member — when her husband died unexpectedly in 2015.

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“No one should face this trade-off. We need public policies that make it easier for people to care for their children and aging parents and for families to mourn and heal after loss.”

Facebook has also introduced six weeks of paid leave to care for a sick relative, and three days of paid leave to take care of a relative with a short-term illness, such as a child with the flu.

“At a time when nearly nine of 10 working women in the United States have no parental or family leave, women make 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, and there’s no system of national paid leave, companies need to step up and lead,” Sandberg wrote.

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In the comments following Sandberg’s post, some people noted that while the benefit was excellent for large companies like Facebook, a similar policy would be impossible for small businesses.

“I’m an employer and have a small company, less than 20 employees,” wrote Lee West. “I can’t afford to have redundancy in my workforce sufficient to offer such generous paid leave.

“Just to offer what we do, my husband and I give up any semblance of work-life balance to fill in for employees who need time off. . . . Although big companies can do this, we cannot. This makes it very hard to compete for good people, of course.”

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