Microsoft will require US suppliers to offer paid parental leave

Tech giant Microsoft announced in a blog post on Thursday that it would require U.S. suppliers and business partners to offer paid family leave to bring the benefits of workers indirectly employed by the company closer in line with those enjoyed by its own corporate workforce.

Over the next year, Microsoft said it is going to work with its U.S. suppliers to implement the new policy, which will offer employees a minimum of 12 weeks paid parental leave, and a pay cap of $1,000 per week. It applies to all new parents, including those who adopt a child.

“Like many large employers, we welcome the opportunity to engage in the important national conversation about how all U.S. workers, regardless of where they work, can access paid parental leave,” Microsoft wrote in the post. “In the meantime, we will continue to focus our resources on doing business with companies that share our commitment to increase workforce inclusion and support employees and their families.”

Microsoft’s new parental leave initiative only applies to U.S. suppliers with more than 50 workers, and covers employees that “perform substantial work for Microsoft.” The tech giant said thousands of workers will be impacted.

The Seattle-based company acknowledged the policy would like result in increased costs, but added that it would put a process in place for addressing those issues.

The policy is in line with requirements that will be implemented in Washington state in 2020, though the company said it did not want to “leave thousands of valued contributors outside of Washington behind.”

Thursday’s announcement is part of an initiative the company began in 2015 to require business partners to offer paid time off.

Shortly after that 2015 announcement, Facebook created an incentives package of its own for outside partners and contractors, which included a $15 minimum wage, a $4,000 new-child benefit for parents who didn’t get parental leave and a minimum of 15 paid days off.

Expanding paid parental leave for families across the country has also been a priority for the Trump administration, championed by President Trump’s daughter – and adviser – Ivanka. The initiative is expected to offer new mothers and fathers six weeks of paid family leave.

The past couple of years has seen a surge in companies boosting paid family leave, including Netflix and Amazon in 2015, Etsy and Ikea in 2016, among a slew of others.