Yesterday all of us who work for NVIDIA got an email from our flamboyant CEO Jensen Huang. With some really quite startling positive changes to employee benefits for maternity and parental leave affecting employees worldwide. Including worldwide policy of 22 weeks full pay for maternity leave, which far out-strips statutory and industry standards in the majority of countries. Whilst many countries like the UK offer statutory maternity pay for longer in the UK and elsewhere the majority of the time is capped at a rate of under £150 a week.
“Building a great company is all about our people – attracting great people, and creating a culture that supports us in doing our life’s work and building our lives.
One of the best things we do is our parental leave benefit. Today, I’m delighted to announce that we’ve worked through all the international logistics so that we can extend this benefit to all NVIDIANs around the world.
Birth mothers will receive 22 weeks of fully paid leave. Fathers, adoptive and foster parents will get 12 weeks fully paid. And new parents can take a further eight weeks of flex time, to help with the transition back to work. In countries where the law provides for additional benefits, local employees are eligible for those too. This benefit is also available to parents who have recently welcomed a child. If you’re not able to take time off, a bonus payment may be available.
This benefit is not just about the time off. It’s mostly about our colleagues picking up the slack to support us during this time. It gives us all great joy to support our families during one of the happiest moments in our lives, and at a time when we need the support most.
Keep up the great work everyone. We are building one of the world’s great companies, one that generations of NVIDIAN’s will be proud of.
Why is this news?
- This is significantly better than NVIDIA have to legally provide anywhere
- It applies to employees worldwide – I’ve worked for companies where companies treat employees differently according to local minimum legislation and it can foster resentment. If something is the right thing to do – then just do it!
- It’s not just maternity but also parental leave that have been enhanced for all employees. This is a really important factor (in my opinion) in ensuring women of child care age are not seen as a liability or potentially – when the guys in the office take time too
- This will make it even easier to attract and retain staff, which frankly makes everyone’s lives easier
- Whilst some (mainly European) countries offer fantastic parental packages this is usually state funded at the costs of high taxes. E.g. Sweden. This is being driven by NVIDIA, presumably at large costs, a private USA company. In the USA only 11% of employers offer any maternity leave let alone anything of practical financial benefit (see http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/06/good-job-america-a-map-of-maternity-leave-policies-around-the-world/373117/)
What does this mean for NVIDIA customers?
It was an internal memo, most customers I doubt will be aware but long-term feeling the vibe internally I think it will reap subtle benefits for customers:
- Consistent enterprise staffing – an organization acknowledging smooth businesses run around accommodating real people
- Better staffing – NVIDIA already has a reputation for paying to attract the best, right down to interns (see here). This just makes it even easier to attract those who have the talent and experience to be choosy.
- That support or sales guy or girl who picks up the phone may well be a little perkier and responsive because they have the ability to take time when their baby hasn’t slept for three months, they aren’t distracted because they’ve left their teeny 6 week old baby in nursery to pay the mortgage etc…
- Choosing an ethical supplier is becoming more important to many, recognizing that it’s a choice – why choose a company with dubious employment practices when you you can pick one that treats its staff well and also equally regardless of whether they live in a rich country, second or third-world one.
I’d like to think this would encourage others in the IT industry to raise their game, I’m skeptical it will as at least in the UK there has been a trend for companies to normalize to statutory minimum forming a pseudo-cartel. This announcement went against the trend putting such benefits back on the agenda in IT.
Recently the Maersk group offered a worldwide similar package (see here), but that was newsworthy and from a Scandinavian corporation. The Maersk group announcement contained some startling business justification including this quote:
- “Women leaving the workforce in connection to childbirth is a global problem, and based on previous analysis conducted by consultancy KPMG, it costs global businesses $47 billion every year* to recruit and train new employees to replace women who do not stay in the workforce after maternity leave.”
I can’t comment on NVIDIA’s actual motives, rational or messaging on this just how it’s gone down with low-level employees like me who were just surprised and delighted this decision was made. It’s not considered good form to discuss company memos or benefits but in this case I felt the need to raise this discussion wider than NVIDIA and would be interesting to hear others thoughts/experiences.