The U.S. standard of paid parental leave would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic: our country is among the very few worldwide that doesn’t guarantee any paid maternity leave. Johnson & Johnson‘s latest announcement will hopefully be the start of a more family-friendly, supportive future in America. The company will now offer up to 17 weeks of paid maternity leave for mothers giving birth via C-section and up to 15 weeks for moms who give birth vaginally. Dads, adoptive parents, and partners in same sex couples can receive nine weeks of paid leave (up from the previous one week that the company guaranteed for all parents). Another bonus from the new policy: parents don’t have to take leave consecutively, meaning they can divvy up time to be with baby during that first year full of milestones. The new policy, which took effect on May 1st and also was made to retroactively include employees who became parents on or after May of 2014, marks a significant increase in the company’s parental leave offerings and, with any luck, will positively influence other companies to strive for a healthier, happier workforce and work-life balance.

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