From WPP to IPG, here are top ad holding companies’ 2023 parental leave policies
The Drum surveys the world’s top advertising holding companies on their US parental leave policies.
Most Americans support paid leave for both parents, though only 11 US states require any kind of paid parental leave / Adobe Stock
In the US, neither paid maternity nor paternity leave is encoded in federal law, even though 100 other nations require companies to support new parents with paid leave assurances.
As it stands, just 11 US states have passed paid family and medical leave laws. But the majority of US workers support paid parental leave policies. A YouGov study conducted in 2021 finds that about 70% of Americans believe both mothers and fathers should receive paid parental leave.
Now, post-pandemic, with unemployment rates at historic lows in the US (despite headlines about layoffs in the tech and media sectors dominating the news, unemployment remains at a nearly 50-year low), workers are demanding increasingly competitive medical and family benefits. Many have come to expect generous parental leave policies.
The Drum caught up with the world’s biggest advertising holding companies to see how their family leave policies stack up.
WPP’s ambition is to unleash the creative potential in every individual. To achieve that, we need to prioritize our people’s well-being. That’s why we continue to work and find ways to enhance the support we offer to everyone across the network who wants to start, or grow, a family. Our full-time employees in the US can take a minimum of 12 weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child, including in the case of surrogacy. We know the journey to parenthood is different for everyone, and it’s important to us that the support we offer reflects that.
Jennifer Remling, global chief people officer, WPP
IPG offers our people 12 weeks of paid time off at 100% of their salary under our employee and family leave (EFL) policy. For a birth mom, the 12 weeks of EFL is in addition to short-term disability, which is usually six to eight weeks. In addition, employees may also use up to two weeks of paid sick time, so maternity leave is [usually] 20 to 22 weeks for new IPG moms. For paternity or non-birth mother-baby bonding leave, including adoption and foster care, 12 weeks of EFL plus two weeks of paid sick time can be used.
As a side note, the maximum EFL time allowed was increased from six to 12 weeks this past October, so this is a recent enhancement for IPG.
Tom Cunningham, senior vice-president of global communications, IPG
We have worked to expand and harmonize our leave offerings to be as inclusive as possible because we know that ‘family’ means something different for everyone. Whether you’re a new parent, a caregiver, experiencing loss, or just need time to focus on your family, we provide our people with the flexibility to support their unique and diverse needs.
For our US marketing services talent, this includes 12 weeks of paid parental and family care leave, available to all regular employees on day one of employment (no waiting period), and for birthing parents, this can provide up to 20 weeks of paid combined disability and parental leave. We also offer monetary assistance for family forming – [which may entail] adoption, surrogacy, and fertility – an unlimited flexible time off policy and 12 annual sick days; up to three months for a gradual transition back to work schedule for new parents; medical and personal leave options; discounted backup care through Bright Horizons; bereavement leave covering the loss of a family member, friend, pet, pregnancy loss, or unsuccessful adoption; $5,000 dependent FSA program; and ongoing flexible work arrangements as needed.
We also have Publicis Parents, Publicis Groupe’s dedicated business resource group for all parents and their allies – which provides community and connection for so many in our network, and has helped to advise on many of the policies above.
Barbara Jobs, chief human resources officer, Publicis Groupe US Marketing Services
Omnicom’s parental leave policy in the US is that employees who have been with us for at least one year have up to 10 weeks of paid parental leave in addition to applicable short-term disability benefits.
Joanne Trout, chief communications officer, Omnicom Group
At Dentsu, we believe in supporting our employees as they pursue their goals both personally and professionally. Supporting parents of all varieties is a top priority, and we are proud that we have been able to provide a fully paid 16-week parental leave since 2018. Parental leave is available to both birth and non-birth parents, including people who grow their families through adoption, surrogacy or foster placement.
In 2022, we further enhanced family support by providing access to Maven, a free on-demand virtual support for Dentsu employees and their partners who are thinking about starting a family, are already pregnant, exploring fertility treatments like IVF, IUI and egg freezing, considering adoption or surrogacy or have a child under 10 years old. We provide fertility coverage with a lifetime maximum of up to $50,000, including egg-freezing benefits to cover proactive egg freezing, and egg freezing for medical reasons, as well as reimbursement for adoption (up to $15,000) or surrogacy expenses (up to $25,000). Knowing that the need for support doesn’t stop after children are born, Dentsu provides additional family resources to help with access to caregivers.
As a leader expecting their first child this spring, I’m grateful for the benefits and support Dentsu provides, and I feel incredibly lucky to work for an organization that supports me personally and professionally.
Jamie Barash, chief people officer, Media Americas, Dentsu
At Stagwell, we believe in supporting families at every stage; our parental leave policy at corporate is 16 weeks of paid leave for either parent. While the policy varies throughout our network, most offer around 12 paid weeks, with some offering as many as 20.
Stephanie Howley, chief people officer, Stagwell
The purpose of paid parental leave, also known as caregiver leave, is to give Media.Monks employees time to care for and bond with a newborn, a newly adopted, or a recently placed child. In the US, Media.Monks provides up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave to eligible employees following the birth of a child or the placement of a child with a qualified employee in connection with adoption or foster care. Employees are encouraged to decide for themselves the appropriate amount of time to take and when to take it. The 16 weeks do not need to be taken consecutively, but they must be taken in at least two-week blocks.
Family and caregiving should be truly inclusive and can have many definitions. Our policies and programs are designed to support any person on their caregiving journey.
James Nicholas Kinney, chief people officer, Media.Monks
Havas declined a request for comment.