American Express will give all parents 20 weeks of paid leave

The U.S. ranks last on this important issue
The U.S. ranks last on this important issue

Having a family while working at American Express is about to get a lot better.

Starting in January, the financial services giant will expand its paid parental leave policy for mothers and fathers to 20 weeks at full pay, plus another six to eight weeks for women who give birth and require medical leave. Full-time and part-time employees who have worked at Amex for at least a year are eligible.

That's a big shift from the company's current policy of offering six weeks of paid leave for the primary parent plus another six to eight weeks for birth mothers who require medical leave. Secondary caregivers, meanwhile, have gotten just two weeks.

Under the new policy, parents will also have access to a 24-hour lactation consultant. And mothers who go on business trips will be able to ship their breast milk home for free.

Related: How paid family leave could become a reality in the U.S.

In addition, expectant parents will have access to a parent concierge, whom they can go to for information on the company's family benefits and resources.

And employees who wish to have a child will receive up to $35,000 for adoption or surrogacy for up to two children. Those undergoing infertility treatments, meanwhile, will receive up to a lifetime maximum of $35,000 to help defray costs.

Ikea, AXA also get more generous

Amex joins a growing list of companies that have made their parental and family leave policies more generous in the past two years.

Just last week, Ikea announced that U.S.-based employees, including hourly workers, will get six to eight weeks of parental leave at full pay and another six to eight weeks at half pay.

Related: Dads get more of a (paid) break at work

And financial investment firm AXA said full- and part-time employees with at least one year of tenure can take up to 16 consecutive weeks of leave at full pay if they are the primary parent, up from 10 weeks currently. And they can take up to 4 weeks if they're not the primary parent.

AXA also launched an infant transition program that provides new parents with up to 30 days of subsidized back-up care during their baby's first year, three of which require no copay.

Earlier this year, Etsy, an online marketplace for unique goods, unveiled one of the most generous, flexible and gender-neutral paid parental leave policies in any industry: 26 weeks of paid parental leave during the first two years of a child's life.

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