Sun Life announces enhanced paid family and medical leave so employees can care for their families, themselves in the moments that matter
Inclusive program is gender- and generational-neutral, benefiting new parents, caregivers, chosen family, victims of abuse and others to address needs of modern workforce
WELLESLEY, Mass. (September 12, 2019)-Sun Life U.S. today announced a new paid family and medical leave program for all full- and part-time workers in the U.S. to help employees better care for themselves and their families, including chosen family as defined by the employee. The new program covers approximately 3,500 employees, effective January 1, 2020, and provides up to:
- Four months of fully paid family leave to bond with a new child, including adopted and foster children; care for ill family members; care for a family member injured on active duty; address matters arising from a family member called to military duty; address issues related to domestic violence or sexual assault; or become a bone marrow or organ donor.
- Six months of fully paid leave for the birth parent, which includes two months of medical leave for childbirth recovery in addition to the four months of family leave.
- Six months+ of paid medical leave for an employee’s own illness or injury, with the first four months at full pay.
“Offering generous paid family and medical leave is the right thing to do for our employees and their families, and it allows them to be together in the moments that matter,” said Dan Fishbein, M.D., president of Sun Life U.S. “This program aligns with our inclusive work culture, our company’s purpose to help people achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives, and our desire to retain and recruit the top talent in today’s diverse workforce. We believe it’s important to make this benefit meaningful to all generations and genders of employees, recognizing that families come in all forms and that the needs for leave are broad.”
“Guaranteed paid family and medical leave should be the standard for every single American worker,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy III. “By implementing this policy for the more than 1,000 workers in our district and the 3,500 nationwide, Sun Life isn’t only investing in their own workers, but using their influence to encourage other businesses to follow their lead.”
Katie Bethell, founder and executive director of Paid Leave U.S., commented, “Sun Life’s new paid leave program is forward-thinking in its inclusive approach beyond traditional family structures and reasons for leave. While parental leave is extremely important, broadening paid leave to include all caregivers and others gives all generations and genders of employees equal access to paid time off to care for loved ones. These are vital considerations to embrace in the world today.”
Fishbein added, “We applaud the efforts by Massachusetts, Paid Leave U.S. and others who have begun to establish a legislative foundation for paid leave in the U.S. We support these efforts, and will continue to work with legislators and advocates.
“But it’s up to employers to do more to cover this gap with robust, innovative and competitive paid leave packages that meet the needs of today’s workforce. I call on all employers to re-examine their leave policies to do what’s right for their employees and companies, and join us on this critical journey. We welcome the opportunity to share our experience to help shape these programs and reach more Americans.”
A survey from Deft Research shows paid family leave among the top five of the most important benefits across all generations of employees from Gen Z to Boomers for a variety of needs related to life’s joys and challenges, including welcoming a new child, giving care to an aging parent or ill family member, or attending to their own illness. Despite this, only 14% of the American workforce is covered by an employer-sponsored paid leave program, according to a report from the Boston Consulting Group.
In keeping with the needs of today’s employees, Sun Life has continually updated its benefits programs and adopted an agile work approach that offers more choice and flexibility in how and where employees work. Last year, the company also added a sabbatical program to give employees the opportunity to take extended time away from work to rejuvenate or pursue personal development. Other popular benefits include a revamped wellness program to support physical, mental, and financial well-being that includes monetary rewards and optional participation of spouses and domestic partners, as well as support for chronic medical conditions like hypertension and diabetes management with free medical supplies.
About Sun Life
Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of June 30, 2019, Sun Life had total assets under management of C$1,025 billion. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com.
Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.
In the United States, Sun Life is one of the largest group benefits providers, serving more than 60,000 employers in small, medium and large workplaces across the country. Sun Life’s broad portfolio of insurance products and services in the U.S. includes disability, absence management, life, dental, vision, voluntary and medical stop-loss. Sun Life and its affiliates in asset management businesses in the U.S. employ approximately 5,500 people. Group insurance policies are issued by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, Mass.), except in New York, where policies are issued by Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) (Lansing, Mich.). For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com/us.
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