American Solar & Roofing broke new ground recently when it unveiled a generous and uncommon policy for its employees: one month paid family leave. The bold move sets the Scottsdale-based provider of residential solar systems and roofing services apart from most Arizona companies, and most of the U.S., in offering paid leave for new parents.
“I wanted to be part of the solution,” says Joy Seitz, CEO, referring to the firestorm of controversy that surrounded NY Mets player Daniel Murphy earlier this year when he missed the season’s first two games to be with his newborn son. “I felt the backlash he got was wrong, and I wanted to do something about it as a company, so we decided to break from convention.”
Johnny Campos, a construction superintendent for American Solar & Roofing, welcomed the new policy when he took a month off in June to be with his newborn daughter, Kai. “It meant a lot to me to be home after she was born,” says Campos. “To have that time with her was priceless. For me, it shows the kind of company that I work for; one that values family.”
American Solar & Roofing’s family-friendly policy is far ahead of the curve, considering that only about 17 percent of employers in the entire country provide some level of paid family leave. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t guarantee paid family leave to workers. Most countries allow for at least three months leave, with Sweden leading the pack with a whopping 480 days of paid leave per child.
Currently, the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees U.S. employees up to 12 weeks protected leave, but not paid. Arizona recently earned an ‘F’ for its un-friendly family policies by the National Partnership for Women and Families. The only states which received an A+ rating were California and Connecticut.
By implementing its new policy, American Solar & Roofing is breaking all the rules and setting a higher standard for other Arizona companies to follow. “We want to give our employees the opportunity to bond with their children and to support their spouses during such a special time in life. That’s really important to us, and it makes our company even better,” says Seitz.
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