A large percentage of Newsbridge’s remote international workforce have families. It comes with the territory when recruiting specific profiles. Experienced talent in AI, SaaS, sales, operations and marketing are likely to be having - or thinking about having - kids.
Rather than being turned off a job candidate by that possibility, we believe children are a great addition to our company culture. They promote a healthy work-life balance, and studies have found that parents even tend to perform better in the workplace due to their ability to multitask, effectively negotiate and manage stress.
Newsbridge has signed the parental challenge commitment charter and we’re taking concrete actions to support parents, including:
But we’re not stopping there. We also want to ensure that we continue to work towards achieving true equality in our workplace. We’re proud partners of the Rise program, a group for gender diversity in the media technology industry. We earned a rating of one diamond in our first assessment. And, we’re recognizing and supporting the needs of colleagues who require time off to manage their menstrual health.
Here are just some of the latest additions to Newsbridge’s workplace policies and employee benefits that reflect the type of employer that we’re striving to be.
“I created Newsbridge with my brother Frederic in 2016, but if I’m being completely honest, I almost didn’t. My wife and I were planning to start our family very soon, and I confided in a few business mentors that I just didn’t think the timing was right. On the contrary, they told me, the timing was perfect. Seven years and two kids later, I completely understand why.
As a founder, your company is one of the most important things in your life. However, when you start having kids, suddenly there is something that is even more important. Something that forces you to unplug and step away from the constant demands of a startup. And it’s in these times spent with family, disconnected from work, where you gain perspective and fresh ideas to bring efficiencies to your business.”
Our team’s experiences of working from home while caring for kids during the pandemic really influenced this policy. It’s an incredibly difficult - and at times downright dangerous - mix. At work, we want everyone to be 100% focused, and if that’s not possible due to being preoccupied with concerns for an ill child, then that’s where your focus should be.
We provide up to five paid days off per year - with no justification needed - to cover those times when parents need to be off Slack meetings and all-in on nursing their little one(s) back to health.
"Any parent will know that caring for a sick child is no holiday. I'm pleased to be able to save my vacation days for real vacations, and have the confidence to take time off work for my son when he needs me."
Jurisdictional rules around bereavement leave generally limit this entitlement to a child’s death, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Under the most widely applied collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for groups and companies in France for example, the leave entitlement for miscarriage before 22 weeks is only two days for the “carrying” mother. Their partner can also take two days, but only if they work under the same CBA.
Research suggests about one in 10 women miscarry. And having an abortion is never a decision that is taken lightly. The emotional trauma of these types of losses is often overlooked, and it’s wrong to expect any employee to simply soldier on with limited personal time away to process and grieve.
It’s why we’ve chosen to provide up to 10 paid days off, per occurrence, for any parent - including fathers and second parents - for the death of a child, a miscarriage, or an abortion.
“At my very first, 1st trimester ultrasound, the gynaecologist abruptly halted the machine and delivered the devastating news that our 12-week-old fetus had no heartbeat and that I would miscarry in the days to come. The shock was overwhelming. Both I and my husband simply weren't prepared for this heart-wrenching experience.
The physical pain that followed was difficult to bear, but the emotional toll was even more immense. As a couple, we both felt the weight of this loss. Providing adequate time off for both parents to recover from such an experience is not only the right thing to do, but also a step towards building more equal societies where the challenges of parenthood are not solely placed on women.”
The need to provide support and flexibility at work for people to manage their menstrual health is slowly starting to be acknowledged. Spain recently became the first European country to pass a law granting paid medical leave to women suffering severe period pain. And French retail giant Carrefour is following suit with one day off per month, as long as sufferers provide a medical certificate proving a diagnosis of endometriosis. The French city of Saint-Ouen is adopting a similar scheme.
Newsbridge HR identified that some colleagues were taking regular vacation days to manage painful periods, or were choosing to struggle through the pain at work. So introducing menstrual leave was a no-brainer.
We know that working through the pain accounts for an average nine days per person per year of lost productivity. Newsbridge provides up to eight paid days of menstrual leave annually. Two days in a row can be used, and no medical certificate is needed. The reason for the leave is not listed in our HR admin software. We trust our team members, and we don’t want to subject them to uncomfortable personal conversations or disclosures.
Why call it “menstrual” leave? Because that’s what it is. After polling affected colleagues on the preferred name, it’s clear that the days of hiding behind a euphemism are long gone.
"As someone who suffers from painful periods, I appreciate the opportunity to benefit from a day to recover while having my privacy respected without embarrassment, judgment, or discrimination. This also helps to demystify menstruation, which is still a taboo topic for some people.
A work policy like menstrual leave shows that it's possible to align your health and quality of life with your professional life, and no longer see it as an obstacle. It’s a big step for gender and reproductive rights, bringing us closer to a more equal world."
When we started building out Newsbridge’s workplace policies and benefits, we decided that they should apply across the board, regardless of whether a team member is employed in France, Germany, the U.K., U.S.A. or elsewhere. This cultivates a real sense of solidarity within the company. And it means that in many cases, we are providing benefits in excess of what’s required by local labor laws.
On the off chance a particular country is more generous on certain benefits, of course we will match them.
“Was Newsbridge’s international benefits package a big drawcard for me in accepting the job? It definitely helped. I appreciate companies leading the way in regards to employee social and wellness benefits, and knowing that these applied globally within the company was a big plus.”
You may well be wondering “are these generous workplace policies proving worth it?”
We determine our ROI in two ways:
Other policies are helping us to move the needle on equal pay. Our employee salary grid is based on market data (provided by figures.hr) and re-evaluated each year to eradicate potential pay gaps and ensure consistently fair remuneration. And while currently only 30% of our workforce are women, we are actively working to increase that.
Newsbridge is proud to be creating a company culture that doesn’t lean on workplace legislation when deciding how inclusive and equitable to be. We want to go beyond, and not wait around for governments to catch up.
In the decades to come, organizations will surely look back in disbelief at some of the policies described as “radical” today, like paid menstrual and abortion leave, and wonder why it was ever considered anything but a basic right.
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