April 7, 2022

Mom-Founded Infant Formula Company, Bobbie, Open-Sources New 12-Month Parental Leave Policy, TakeOurLeave

Bobbie, the first U.S.-based Organic, European-style infant formula, today announced its new parental leave policy, TakeOurLeave, that offers birthing and non-birthing parents up to 12 months of leave to bond with their baby, effective immediately. As a nearly 60-person startup, (70% of which are parents; over half of which had a pandemic baby) Bobbie’s TakeOurLeave is setting a new standard for parental leave in the U.S. for a company of their size. And today they announced they are open sourcing the policy to challenge all companies to join them. Currently, just 15% of companies with 99 or fewer employees have access to employer-provided paid leave according to the Department of Labor.

“Without a national paid leave policy in the U.S., there's this myth that if you are a small company, you can't support a stellar parental leave program–and today, we're calling BS on that”

Bobbie co-founders Laura Modi (CEO and mom to Mary, Colin & Owen) and Sarah Hardy (COO and mom to Bea and Clinton) launched the company as a team of moms in the midst of the pandemic – as more than two million women dropped out of the workforce – and set out to prioritize creating a company that truly allows employees, specifically new parents, to thrive while also raising a family. The new policy is first-of-its-kind for a company of this size, providing four months of paid leave and up to eight additional months (for a total of 12) for birthing and non-birthing parents to strengthen their bond with their baby, adjust to their new normal, and mentally prepare to return to the workforce on their own terms. Today, one in four U.S. mothers returns to work ten days after childbirth (source) and on average, new fathers only take one week of paid or unpaid parental leave (source). Without the proper support systems in place, for women without access to paid family leave, nearly 30% drop out of the workforce within a year of giving birth and one in five do not return for more than a decade (source).

“Without a national paid leave policy in the U.S., there's this myth that if you are a small company, you can't support a stellar parental leave program–and today, we're calling BS on that,” said Sarah Hardy, Bobbie co-founder and COO. “But we’re not interested in doing this alone – that’s why we’re open-sourcing our policy and urging others to TakeOurLeave by reimagining the one-dimensional view of parental leave and replacing it with a holistic approach that supports working parents before, during, and after baby arrives. Let’s work together to provide the most elusive perk -- quality time with the babies we have.”

The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants parents the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to bond with a newborn, newly-adopted child, or foster child. With its new policy, Bobbie is calling on other companies to support working parents and make 12 months of leave–not 12 weeks–the norm, rather than the exception.

"As Bobbie's first investor, I have always believed in the product--but it is our shared ambition to change how we push our culture towards a more empathetic, humanized view of working parents that has been the most rewarding element of our collaboration," said Kate McAndrew, Partner at Bolt and Bobbie Mom.

After the parental leave, all employees will have access to Bobbie’s two-week re-entry program, which allows them to work three days a week as they readjust, while they are paid their full salary. Bobbie also understands that working parents carry the invisible weight of a mental load and neverending to-do list. In an effort to alleviate that load, the company offers a first-of-its-kind full time Balance Coordinator to support all team members with tasks completely unrelated to work, like finding a weekend babysitter. Bobbie also celebrates all pregnancy announcements, empathizes with pregnancy loss with a miscarriage leave, and has embraced being 100% remote with schedule flexibility for parents. Bobbie is proud to:

Celebrate Birth Announcements: With over half of our team having a pandemic baby, we welcome, support and celebrate our team member’s pregnancy or baby-on-the-way announcements. In order to create a culture that supports working parents, it starts from the first day you bring yourself to work as a pregnant or expecting parent. Bobbie wants to end the toxic culture of hiding pregnancies for fear of job repercussions or negative leadership reaction, an outdated and out-of-touch response.

Embrace Being Fully Remote: We made an early call to move to 100% remote. No longer does zip code or other needs like caring for aging parents limit our talent pool. We welcome folks to apply from anywhere. Bobbie employees are spread across 17 states. Every week is different for a working parent and we encourage calendar transparency to take time for anything from pumping to daycare pickup.

Offer a Balance Coordinator: The average number of associated tasks with homefront management is 500, which can impact well-being and productivity (Source). We wanted to be able to take something off of the plates of our employees so we created a designated in-house role to alleviate the invisible weight of the mental load in the lives of our team members. So far, one in every three employees has utilized this service with over 50 hours of collective time saved for our team per quarter, with each task taking roughly 2 hours. Bobbie’s balance coordinator has booked bouncy houses, sent cocktail recipes and helped find and hire nannies.

Support Miscarriage Leave: Bobbie’s internal support group, the Bobbie Infant Loss Group, helped provide feedback to develop the miscarriage leave policy which offers three weeks of paid leave to support Bobbie employees who have experienced miscarriage. Employees are also able to take time off near their due date.

“Supporting working parents is deeply personal for me. I was the first mom to return from maternity leave at Airbnb, and wrote their first parental leave policy, paving the way for employees behind me. That transition back to work after my first child became one of the most formative moments of my career – struggling to exclusively breastfeed and be there for my daughter while getting back to a demanding job that I loved. This is why we set out to reinvent what supporting parents looks like at Bobbie,” added Hardy.

To learn more, go to www.hibobbie.com/pages/take-our-leave

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