Duke Energy in 2017 began offering its employees fully paid parental leave – totaling six weeks – to bolster work-family balance and help attract and retain highly skilled workers.
The new benefit catapulted Duke Energy to near the front of the pack among the nation’s largest electric utilities, many of which do not offer dedicated paid parental leave.
Under Duke Energy’s new benefit – available to both mothers and fathers – an employee can start the six-week paid leave any time within the first 16 weeks after the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child.
A birth mother can take a total of at least 12 weeks’ paid time off: at least six weeks through the company’s existing, pregnancy-related short-term disability benefit, followed by six additional weeks under the new parental leave benefit.
“Paid parental leave gives Duke Energy employees important quality time to bond with their new children without the financial pressure of having to immediately return to work. That’s good for our employees and their children,” says Melissa Anderson, Duke Energy executive vice president and chief human resources officer.
Duke Energy’s other family-focused employee benefits include a $5,000 reimbursement for costs associated with adopting a child; paid time off to care for a sick or injured child, parent or other family member; and 10 hours of paid time off each year to volunteer in an employee’s child’s school, or any other school.
Duke Energy employs about 29,000 workers – most of them in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.