【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. step up / ˈstɛpˌʌp / (phrasal v.) – to improve something
Example: The company stepped up its compensation package offer to encourage more applicants.
2. revamp / riˈvæmp / (v.) – to revise something
Example: We revamped the program to accommodate the management’s request.
3. expectant / ɪkˈspɛk tənt / (adj.) – pregnant or expecting a child to be born
Example: Expectant mothers must go through a lot of checkups to ensure the health of their babies.
4. concierge / ˌkɒn siˈɛərʒ / (n.) – a person whose job is to give information and guidance about something
Example: I ask the mall’s concierge for directions whenever I get lost.
5. labor market / ˈleɪ bər ˈmɑr kɪt / (n.) – the available workers that need to be employed and the companies that want to hire them
Example: The labor market competition is tight due to the high demand and the limited supply of workers.
Read the text below.
American Express (Amex) steps up its efforts to compete for talent by revamping its parental benefits policy.
As competition for manpower continues to be very tight, the financial services company introduced an improved parental benefits policy, which aims to keep current employees and attract new talents. After hearing the request of working parents for more help and support, the company responded with a more generous compensation package for employees who are also parents.
Starting January 1, the new policy grants all employees 20 weeks of parental leave with full pay once they have a child through adoption, birth, or surrogacy. Expectant mothers also get an extra six to eight weeks of paid leave. The new policy also gives parents access to a round-the-clock lactation consultant and a parent concierge from whom they can get information about the company's family benefits.
Aside from these, benefits worth as much as $35,000 are also offered to employees who seek to adopt or undergo surrogacy. Employees who wish to undergo infertility treatment through the company's health plan are also entitled to benefits of an equal amount. These benefits are available to all full-time and part-time employees who have worked for at least one year in the company.
Due to pressure from tough competition in the labor market, Amex is not the only company that offered employees better parental benefits.
Other companies in the finance industry such as insurance firm AXA, the Bank of America Corporation, and financial services firm Fidelity also expanded parental leave policies. However, Netflix Inc. may have the most generous offer when it comes to parental leave. The company offers up to 12 months of parental leave to qualified employees, which means that new parents may take as much time off as they need during the first year after the birth or adoption of their child.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· Do you think that 20 weeks of parental leave is too long or too short? Explain your answer.
· What other benefits would you like employees with families to have?
· What are some difficulties that working parents encounter?
· How can working parents ensure balance between family life and career?