Wells Fargo continues to face criticism from some employees over the June 1 start date for its new paid-leave policy for parents.
A petition launched this week on Change.org urges the San Francisco-based bank to let pregnant employees due before then have access to the benefit, which was announced last week. It marks the first time Wells Fargo will offer paid parental leave, a benefit that will provide 16 weeks at 100 percent of pay for a primary caretaker following a birth or adoption.
The petition adds to the backlash Wells Fargo has continued to receive from some pregnant employees who will only have access to Wells Fargo’s old existing family leave policy. That policy allows new mothers to use a combination of paid time off and short-term disability.
Under short-term disability, some employees might receive only 65 percent of their pay, depending on how many years of service they have with Wells Fargo.
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“We are hoping those currently pregnant can be grandfathered in to the new wonderful benefits,” reads the petition, which as of midday Friday had 227 supporters. “This is only adding more stress to these expecting mothers. Please consider making some changes to the policy. All employees matter.”
In a statement to the Observer, Wells Fargo said it has no plans to change the June 1 start date. The bank said it picked that date to provide sufficient time for the company to roll out a “well-administered experience for team members.”
“We understand there are team members who are disappointed that they do not qualify for the new benefits given the timing of the implementation, and we are working with them to take advantage of the time away available to them under our existing family leave policy to understand the options available to them,” the statement says.
On Thursday, Wells Fargo’s head of corporate benefits, Elli Dai, acknowledged the frustrations of some expecting mothers in a message to employees on the company’s intranet. Dai noted that the “overwhelming” response to the new paid-leave policy and other benefits Wells Fargo unveiled last week has been “extremely” positive.
“I also want to acknowledge the disappointment we’ve heard from team members who will start a leave before these new programs launch on June 1,” Dai wrote. “The reality is that there is no perfect timing for all team members when introducing new programs.
“Our goal is to make them available to as many people as possible as soon as possible, and this date allows for a well-administered experience.”
Wells Fargo employs about 23,300 in Charlotte, its biggest employment hub.