EOS Hospitality CEO Jonathan Wang says rolling out a new program that grants 10 weeks of 100% paid leave to all full-time staff that become new parents is one of the highlights of his career. “I do see it as an investment – one that will pay off for us as a company. EOS Family Matters is both the right thing to do and the smart thing for us as a business,” he told HOTELS last week.
Wang said the program will reduce turnover, attract and retain talent, and increase productivity at the management company with more than 40 hotels, 6,000 keys and 3,000 team members. “Turnover is both extremely high across the industry and very costly. So, if we can impact that at all, the program very quickly pays for itself,” he said.
EOS Family Matters is gender-neutral and applies to natural birth, adoption, surrogacy, and foster parenting. Benefits are available any time within 12 months after welcoming a new child, and it applies to top executives as well as on-property employees; those that are salaried as well as those that are hourly.
Wang said that EOS is excited to collect real data in this first year to understand how the program will be used. “When planning for this policy, we used birth statistics from the CDC to estimate how many eligible employees might use this benefit,” he said.
EOS will manage around the program by giving hourly staff the opportunity to pick up additional shifts. For managerial positions, Wang said EOS can solve shortages in a variety of ways, including looking to its broader portfolio and leveraging bench strength to fill in gaps. “Rather than putting a strain on our operations, we see this creating professional development opportunities for others, including the creation of task force roles and stretch assignments,” he said.
EOS noted that in 2020, only 20% of private sector workers in the U.S. had access to paid family leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and that number is even smaller for those in the service sector, those in the bottom 50% of wage earners, and people of color.
According to a report by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, nearly 30% of working women leave the labor force when they have a child. However, EOS noted that having access to paid family leave should significantly increases the probability that women will return to work in the first year of life. The same report also notes that mothers with access to paid family leave have 4.1% higher incomes and 10.2% lower risk of poverty in the year following birth.
To further create an environment that will provide work-life balance and aid retention, the company also offers generous portfolio-wide discounts to employees and their immediate families, has formed a DEI task force to build a more equitable workplace, and created a social impact fund.