By Gus Morgan
Effective, Jan. 1, 2020, ConocoPhillips will increase its paid parental leave from two weeks to six weeks for all parents – fathers, mothers, adoptive parents and partners alike. Maternity leave will also increase to provide all birth mothers eight weeks of paid leave versus the current range of six to eight weeks. When combined with the enhanced parental leave benefit, birth mothers will be eligible for up to 14 weeks of paid leave following the birth of their child. U.S. employees who became new parents in 2019 are eligible for these benefits starting Jan. 1, 2020.
“We must be a company that doesn’t expect employees to choose between work and family,” said Ellen DeSanctis, senior vice president, Corporate Relations, and executive sponsor of the Parents Network. “This is especially true in the early stages of parenting, but it’s also true over the course of a career as family circumstances change.”
Cherishing every moment
“We want employees to feel empowered to use these benefits,” said Dominic Macklon, president, Lower 48. “All parents deserve to be able to spend time with their families during this important time.”
Evan Lamoreux, supervisor, Completions Engineering and his wife Cristin are busier than ever after the recent arrival of their son, Lawson.
“I know this will impact many families throughout ConocoPhillips in such a positive way. Growing your family is such an important time, and I feel so fortunate that ConocoPhillips recognizes that and is doing so much to ensure both moms and dads get the time they need to be home with their families during this time of great change.”
Having a baby is a big adjustment in family dynamics, Evan said, and it takes time to work through that change.
“The extra time off will ensure families are able to navigate through this change with both mom and dad present.”
‘A giant benefit’ for new parents
Hal Mead, director, Corporate Planning & Portfolio Management and father of four, said the policy changes set ConocoPhillips apart from other companies, allowing the company to better attract and retain employees who plan on starting or adding to their families.
“It means that ConocoPhillips is not just a great place to work, but it is an even better place to build a career,” Hal said. “The ability to maintain work/life balance is critical for longevity, and this is a giant benefit for individuals who want to raise a family.”
Hal and his wife, Stephanie, adopted their youngest child, Sam, when he was 23 months.
“Even when adopting older children, the extra demands can be incredibly challenging,” Hal said, noting that new routines need to be ironed out. “It can be an especially challenging time for brand new parents, parents with multiple children or parents who both have careers or other external demands that require simultaneous attention.”
Benefiting all parents
Megan Gosnell, supervisor, Williston Implementation & Planning, was pleased to see ConocoPhillips continue to support employees’ lives beyond the office.
“I do not plan to have more children, but as a supervisor and parent, I’m thrilled to support my team in having this additional time off during a critical time in their lives, especially for non-birth parents,” said Megan, adding that it’s important for supervisors like her to encourage employees to take advantage of this benefit.
“The ability to bring your best to both work and home is absolutely connected. If you feel like you are significantly sacrificing one for the other, you will likely not perform well at either,” said Megan.
“There’s more than one way to have and raise a family,” said Kelly Rose, senior vice president, Legal, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, and executive sponsor of the Pride Network. “These changes reinforce an inclusive culture that recognizes and promotes the diversity of employees and their families.”
Transitioning into parenthood with twins
Real Estate and Facilities Ergonomic Specialist Benedict Santos, whose wife, Michelle, gave birth to twin boys this summer, is eager to take advantage of the additional paid time off he’ll receive when the policy changes take effect Jan. 1.
“I’m very thankful that ConocoPhillips has given me the opportunity to spend more quality time with my new family,” Benedict said. “You won’t always come across employers who think about their employees like this, so it’s nice to be a part of a company like ConocoPhillips.”
Being able to spend time with your family is invaluable, Benedict said, as it enables new parents to balance family and work and transition into parenthood.
“Parental leave is so important. It’s allowed me to spend time getting to know my sons and to establish routines.”
Getting a smooth start as a family of four
Matt Meade, IT business analyst, and Abby Meade, supervisor for Production and Drilling Analytics, have a three-year-old son named Graham and recently welcomed their daughter, Cameron, on Aug. 23.
“It’s good to see that we are looking outward and making advances in employee benefits,” Matt said. “We are proud to work for a company that recognizes both parents deserve time off to bond with their new child. We are excited not only for ourselves but also for friends and colleagues to get this benefit.”
When the new policy takes effect on Jan. 1, the couple will get the additional paid leave to spend with their family.
“Our most important job is raising our two children,” Matt said. “This extra leave will help us get off to a smooth start as a family of four.”
More fulfilled and focused
Mo Chahal, supervisor, Permian Asset, and Jessica Chahal, senior corporate assurance analyst, are expecting their first child this fall. Both are excited about the new changes.
“Although I was already planning on taking time off after the birth, it’s great to know that Mo will also be able to focus on being a new parent and bond with our new baby,” Jessica said. “Since Mo and I both work for ConocoPhillips, this change will have a huge impact on us.”
Jessica added that parental leave is important, as it allows each family to have a bit more time adjusting and adapting to the dynamics of a new family member, while not having to sacrifice their careers.
“Being able to spend more time with my child in his early development will help me feel more fulfilled in my role as a parent and ensure that I am refreshed and focused on my return to work,” Mo said. “Parenting is an exciting but potentially stressful time and the extended parental leave will help Jessica, baby Chahal and I to progress on this journey as a tight family unit right from the start.”
“We’re excited about these U.S. benefits changes,” said Lance. “And we’re committed to continuing to look for ways to help our employees be successful both at work and at home. That’s the key to attracting and retaining our world-class workforce.”