Sheryl Sandberg Wants Corporate America to Lean In on Extended Family Leave

Sheryl Sandberg is leaning in again.

This time she’s carving out major positions on public policy issues for women and families. And she’s challenging corporate America to take the lead in crafting family-friendly policies such as paid family leave, family sick time and bereavement leave.

On Tuesday, Sandberg announced Facebook has extended its bereavement leave to up to 20 days for an immediate family member and up to 10 days for an extended family member. That’s double the leave it used to offer. U.S. companies are not required to offer bereavement leave.

Facebook is also instituting paid family sick time — three days to care for a family member with a short-term illness, such as a child with the flu, and paid family leave, which allows employees to take up to six weeks of paid leave within a rolling 12-month period to be with an ill family member.

“People should be able both to work and be there for their families,” Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post. “We need public policies that make it easier for people to care for their children and aging parents and for families to mourn and heal after loss.”

More than half of America’s 60 biggest employers offer no paid family leave or will not disclose their family leave policy, according to a study released in November by Paid Leave for the United States.

Momentum has been building for paid family leave, which allows employees — both mothers and fathers — to care for a newborn, a newly adopted child or a seriously ill relative for six or more weeks. A federal law has guaranteed workers unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks since 1993. Four states currently offer paid family leave.

Bereavement leave is also limited in the U.S. Just six out of 10 private sector workers get paid time off after the death of a loved one, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and then only for a few days.

“Making it easier for more Americans to be the workers and family members they want to be will make our economy and country stronger,” said Sandberg, who spoke at the MAKERS Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

The announcements come as the Facebook executive and Lean In author has begun to forcefully voice her opposition to policies she says harms women and families, such as Trump’s ban on U.S. funding to overseas health providers that provide abortion counseling and the more recent immigration ban.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Jessica Guynn