AmEx to increase family benefits for U.S. employees

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The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company American Express (AXP) is seen in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (Copyright Reuters 2016)

American Express Co said on Monday it would increase parental leave and family benefits for U.S. employees from January, joining a list of big U.S. financial companies that have done so this year.

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AmEx's new family benefits include 20 weeks of paid parental leave, reimbursement of adoption or surrogacy expenses of up to $35,000, and a maximum benefit of $35,000 for reproductive and fertility treatments, the company said.

The United States lags behind other developed countries in the amount of leave given to employees. In 2015, only 21 percent of U.S. employers offer paid maternity and 17 percent have programs for paternity leave, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The SHRM said earlier this year that big financial firms, including Wells Fargo & Co, Bank of America Corp and JPMorgan Chase & Co, had expanded their paid parental leave programs.

Increasing corporate family benefits were a part of President-elect Donald Trump's election campaign agenda, with Trump proposing guaranteed six weeks of paid maternity leave and allowing families to deduct the cost of childcare expenses from income taxes.

(Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)