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Jewish Nonprofits Lead on Paid Parental Leave

More than 100 Jewish nonprofit organizations now offer their employees paid parental leave, thanks to the Better Work, Better Life Campaign launched in 2009 by Advancing Women Professionals (AWP), an organization that seeks to expand professional opportunities for women in the organized Jewish community and advance their careers by promoting effective workplace policies. Paid parental leave policies offer paid time off for individuals and couples following the birth or adoption of a child. Research shows that these policies support families, boost productivity, improve retention and enhance employee loyalty. While Jewish organizations outpaced the national average — only 11 percent of Americans have access to paid leave through their employers — AWP challenged the Jewish community to do better.

 “Of the organizations currently on the list of 100, there were very few that offered paid leave at the start of the campaign,” said AWP’s founder and president Shifra Bronznick. “It took two years to persuade the first 12 organizations to adopt paid leave, and in the following four years, more than 90 additional Jewish organizations have adopted such policies. We were able to accomplish this because over time, we collected evidence that showed that paid leave was big enough to matter and small enough to achieve. We helped Jewish organizations understand that inflexible workplace policies blocked the advancement of women professionals and that changing the norm in the organized Jewish community would benefit everyone who works for us and influence national policy by demonstrating that progress is possible.”