NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today at the 11th Annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, leading and progressive businesses in the USA announced their commitments to improve workplace wellness for new parents and their children. The Working Parent Support Coalition was conceived of by leaders at Danone’s US-based companies in consultation with CGI, and the founding members are US-based divisions and subsidiaries of Barclays, Danone, Ernst & Young, KKR and Nestlé. Leaders from each joined together during the CGI Annual Meeting’s closing plenary to announce the Coalition, which is the first of its kind. Coalition members committed to implement a range of parental workplace support practices that ultimately improve health, development, and economic outcomes for both families and companies. These practices around parental workplace support range from transformative strategies, such as longer paid parental leave, to more modest yet highly meaningful ones, such as providing transition support training.
Despite efforts made in the last decades to lower the barriers for parents, and especially women, to balance work and parenthood, the reality is that parental leave practices in the U.S. are still well below global standards. This may have a negative impact on health, the economy and women's advancement in the workplace. At the heart of the issue are the conditions around parental leave, back-to-work strategies, leadership and company culture, and in-office support.
Prior to today’s announcement, each of the founding Coalition members carefully considered how it can measurably improve the quality of life for their employees who are new parents and their infants. And, based on the variety of different businesses in the Coalition, the commitments of the founding companies vary widely in type of benefit, scale and reach. Each company’s commitment takes into account the unique baseline of current benefits and what each company believes is sustainable; and each shares the requirement that the commitment be new, specific and measurable over a baseline assessment. This flexible approach recognizes that all workplace settings and job requirements are not the same, and workplace wellness must be assessed in the context of social and business sustainability. Coalition partners must commit to improve in the areas of company culture, in-office support and/or paid leave. No effort is too small, and every improvement counts to help improve health and economic outcomes. The new Coalition is unique because it will inform and inspire other companies to join in a collective movement to improve the quality of life for parents and their newborns when a child and mother’s health are so heavily influenced.
Also unique to the Coalition are the roles that the American Academy of Pediatrics and Cornell University will play. Each has committed to provide access to their existing resources and tools to help Coalition companies to establish workplace programs to support parents and families with education and guidance to make the most out of this window of opportunity for the best start in life.
Commenting on the Coalition, Ellen Galinsky, President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute, said, “Progressive companies have taken the lead in the United States in improving comprehensive workplace practices during the transition to parenthood, including paid leave as well as supports for new parents and their infants. They've found that the beneficiaries are not only the health and well-being of babies and employed parents, but their companies and our economy!"
Jennifer Owens, Editorial Director, Working Mother Media, said, “As the number of dual-income families continues to rise, progressive employers like these coalition members are considering the challenges of working parents and responding to them holistically. This is where the most change is needed in the workplace and for these companies, where it is happening. We applaud the coalition for its support of working parents, innovations that will allow us to thrive both at work and at home.”
About the Founding Coalition Members and Supporters
American Academy of Pediatrics: “Every child needs a safe, loving, and nutritious foundation for a successful start in life. The American Academy of Pediatrics and its member pediatricians are committed to partnering with parents to be sure they have the information they need as they begin this important journey with their growing family,” said Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. In addition to numerous patient education brochures and a series of child care books, the AAP supports the HealthyChildren.org website for parents, which offers pediatrician-backed health advice, interactive tools and personalized content for parents.
Barclays PLC: “As a client-focused, talent-driven organization, Barclays is committed to helping our employees integrate their work and life successfully,” said Yun Chung, Head of Human Resources, Americas. “We acknowledge that personal circumstances may require additional time-off and flexibility in the way parental leave is taken. Thus, Barclays pledges to continue to create flexibility in our return-to-work parental policies through our Dynamic Working and Work from Home programs.” Barclays engages in investment banking, corporate banking, wealth and investment management services, online personal banking, and consumer credit cards in the U.S.
Cornell University: The faculty and leadership of Cornell University look forward to partnering with, and learning from, companies that have made a commitment to parental and child health. We share their commitment and offer the expertise of our faculty, academics, and staff in the areas of global maternal and infant health to other collaborators. Likewise, we look forward to learning from those companies that have advanced effective workforce and community practices that are having positive impacts. Cornell University is a leading privately endowed research university and a partner with the State University of New York. As the federal land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University has a responsibility to make contributions in fields of knowledge in a manner that prioritized public engagement to help improve the quality of life in our state, the nation, and the world.
Danone’s U.S.-based companies: “To help fulfill our mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible and be an even better place to work, we are going to improve our parental leave practices and want to inspire others to do the same,” said Luciana Nunez, General Manager of Danone - Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, who also conceived of the Working Parent Support Coalition with CGI. “Today, all of our companies in the USA can commit to improving parental benefits, with the commitment of getting to 6 months of paid parental leave, inclusive of primary caregivers within same sex couples.” Danone’s US-based companies include Dannon, Danone Waters of America, Happy Family Organics, Nutricia North America, Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, Stonyfield Farm and YoCrunch.
Ernst & Young: “EY is proud to be a member of the Clinton Global Initiative commitment Working Parent Support Coalition. We look forward to partnering with the coalition’s private and public members to share best practices and policies that can help create a more inclusive and flexible workforce culture for all working parents. We are proud that our working EY parents in the US express the highest levels of engagement among all our US professionals, which leads to higher levels of job satisfaction, productivity client service and retention. Coalitions like this provide leaders and experts with the forum to share lessons learned and provide specific recommendations for other companies,” said Karyn Twaronite, EY Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer.
KKR: Building off KKR’s recent decisions to extend parental leave to 16 weeks, create a policy for new parents to bring their infant and a caregiver when traveling for work within the first year, and establish a transition support protocol around parental leave, today the global investment firm is committing to improving lactation support and resources for new mothers. As part of this CGI commitment, the firm also recognizes that families come in many forms and thus will support employees who are pursuing adoption via a new global adoption reimbursement policy. “Our most precious assets are our people, which is why we are evolving to build and support a more diverse and family friendly environment,” said Mike Michelson, KKR member and head of the firm’s Inclusion and Diversity Council. “These are critical issues that can create barriers to healthy, happy families. We hope that these changes will have a significant and positive impact on our employees, their families, and the firm overall.”
Nestlé: “Earlier this summer we announced a new global Maternity Protection Policy because we believe all of our new parents deserve more. Our expanded policy offers new parents 14 weeks paid maternity leave and the right to extend their leave up to six months,” said Paul Bakus, President of Nestlé Corporate Affairs. “Today, with industry leaders, we’re taking another step in the right direction by committing to evaluate and share the impact of our new maternity leave policy on employees in the U.S. Our goal is to use this information to contribute to the ongoing dialogue around maternity leave policies so we all can continue to improve.” Nestlé in the U.S. consists of eight main businesses operating in 47 states with 51,000 employees. The United States is Nestlé S.A.’s largest market with combined product sales in the United States totaling more than $26 billion in 2014.
Any companies interested to discuss joining the Working Parent Support Coalition are encouraged to contact Luciana.Nunez@Danone.com, and to make their own CGI Commitment to Action related to family workplace practices contact CGI directly. For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/workingparentsupport.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.
In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East & Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.