05 September 2018 at 09:59 BST

Microsoft general counsel wants shared values written in contracts

Business partners of the US tech giant are asked to share Microsoft's values if they want to work with them and offer paid family leave.


Microsoft has said it aims to focus their resources ‘on doing business with companies that share our values.’ The US technology giants are reputed to offer some of the most generous employee benefits, but the less-skilled workers and those holding such jobs staffed by outside firms usually receive much smaller packages.

Shrinking the gap

Now Microsoft has announced a new policy that it hopes will shrink that gap, pledging it will only sign contracts with service providers who give their employees 12 weeks of paid family leave. This is believed to be a first for a large American firms. Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and general counsel, explained ‘we want to focus our resources on doing business with companies that share our values.’ Mr Stahlkopf explained that parents who perform work for Microsoft, whether biological or adoptive, must receive 12 weeks of leave at two-thirds of their wages or up to $1,000 weekly. Washington state, where the company is based, is currently preparing to introduce paid family leave for workers, the fifth US state to do so. Under the new law, which takes effect in 2020, workers can collect up to $1,000 weekly.

Trump wants program

Microsoft, which partners with over 1,000 firms across the US, is highlighting that paid family leave should be a core employee benefit and not just reserved for a select few. Fifty-eight percent of companies cover some wages during maternity leave, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, a national nonprofit, while just 12 percent do the same for paternity leave. However, the benefits do add costs, and the new requirement is less generous than the benefit their other employees currently receive. A new source of support comes from US president Donald  Trump, who is the first Republican in the White House to say he wants to see a national paid-leave program,  but the administration has yet to offer a plan.


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