From the Roots Up: How We Built a New Family Leave Experience

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  • 1 December 2015
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Parents have a special kind of courage. It takes parental courage to see your child get their first cuts and bruises, to give your son or daughter space to make mistakes and learn from them—it even takes parental courage to buckle your baby into a car seat and drive home for the very first time. Your first years as a parent are covered with the fog of the unknown and uncomfortable, and you need courage to venture into it.

The first act of parental courage comes before the baby is even born, when the decision is made to have a child. This decision marks the moment that you and your partner have put aside all of the personal parental fears in order to grow into more complete versions of yourselves. Unfortunately, for many in the American workforce, it also marks a time where tough compromises about time-off, finances and career choices must be made.

We set out to answer one question—how can we make the decision to start a family more about courage and passion, and less about workplace concessions?

As with many great journeys, ours started on a bus, on our way to our client’s headquarters. On this particular ride, Liya had a revelation—she expected a baby in September. This revelation resonated with Jen, who wasn’t pregnant but had been weighing the decision.

Both of us knew this was a decision that was harder than it should be, and we knew we weren’t alone. The U.S. trails nearly every other industrialized country when it comes to paid maternity and paternity leave. This puts undue stress on one’s plans for a family. The typical U.S. Maternity/Paternity Leave policies pit the financial needs against the decision to spend time with your new family at a critical time for both mother and father to bond with their baby.

In spite of these conditions, Liya had taken a brave step towards the next evolution of herself. Liya glowed. If she could do anything about it, she wanted to make it easier for others to glow, too. She saw opportunities for everyone around her—her husband, her baby, Jen, other Revelers and maybe even more people—could all benefit from her excitement, courage and passion. We came to the realization that this opportunity to do good reached beyond traditional boundaries like “work,” “life,” and “community.”

Our passion moved us into action quickly. We started with research. Who were the current generation of parents and potential parents? For those that wanted children but didn’t have them, what was in their way? How could we influence a change at Revel and, perhaps, across the entire workforce, to let future parents become themselves with less stress and more joy?

Our learnings resulted in a lifecycle that put parents at the center. We collected the obstacles for parents at each stage of a family’s lifecycle; we found bureaucratic stumbling blocks like Short-Term Disability sign-up, scheduling hurdles for parents ready to return to work, and time-off concerns for both parents when the baby was born. For each stage, we also found ways to transform the relationship between parent and employer to one of success and enablement through programs, financial support and better communication.

Our research was thorough, thoughtful and fueled by our passion to make family decisions easier on employees. When we presented it to Sheri Iverson, a Revel director, our commitment to bring delight to future parents beamed from us. She, like us, knew this was an opportunity to make a big impact on Revelers and influence other companies in the area to reconsider their family policies. Sheri paved the way for a meeting to pitch our idea to Vikas, Revel’s CEO.

Vikas was moved by our research and recommendations. He asked us, along with our HR generalist, Rita Rossing, to write a first draft of a new family policy that put future parents at the center.

Today, we’re proud to unveil a new Parental Leave policy available to all benefit eligible employees.

All benefit eligible new parents with less than one year of service are eligible for 2 weeks of leave at full pay, in addition to their accrued PTO. After one year of service this benefit for new parents increases to up to 10 weeks of paid leave in addition to the use of their accrued PTO.

Mothers recovering from birth are also eligible for Revel’s new Serious Illness/Disability Leave. A typical pregnancy recovery is 6-8 weeks, but actual duration may vary. The first two weeks of recovery will be covered at full pay by Revel and mothers recovering from birth who are enrolled in Short-Term Disability coverage may also be eligible for partial pay via insurance for the remainder of their medically-certified recovery period.

This benefit isn’t just for new mothers! Our new Serious Illness/Disability Leave is available to all regular full-time employees who are recovering from a medically certified Serious Illness/Disability.

If you are expecting or adopting, please reach out to HR as soon as possible to get further guidance and support on what is needed to participate in Revel’s new leave benefits. If you are in the early stages of your family plan—stay tuned! You’ll see more about these new benefits over the coming months.

As we move forward, the associate experience will be driven by empathy combined with a focus on lifestyle. Human Resources depends on this framework to remove barriers between great minds, passionate souls and activated opportunists! Whether you’re starting a family or launching a product, it is Revel’s passion to provide the space, time and energy needed to foster your innovation.

We can do this as a result of Revel’s workplace democracy. In a democratic system, the individual output is as great as the collective input. At Revel we legislate with our passion and vote with our actions. We have a system of checks and balances that make it possible for two associates to channel their courage and passion for family into an impact for the entire company and, we hope, the world.


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