We believe our People are our greatest asset and we purposefully foster a hard-working, innovative, and fun work environment where Employees feel valued and empowered to be their best. As a top employment brand with high employee satisfaction and engagement, our treatment of Employees is the single biggest factor behind our decades of success. Putting Employees first allows them to wholeheartedly serve our Customers—which reinforces our world-famous Customer Service and Culture—a positive cycle that benefits everyone in the Southwest Family.
For years, Southwest has been recognized by organizations like Glassdoor and Indeed for the benefits and perks we provide to our Employees. In 2018, we announced a big enhancement to our current Paid Time Off (PTO) Program for Non-contract Employees. In addition to PTO, qualifying Employees now have an opportunity to utilize Company-paid parental leave which includes six weeks of paid leave for parents of children born or adopted on or after Jan. 1, 2019. For birth mothers, we offer up to 12 weeks paid leave with a combination of PTO, short-term disability, and parental leave. For our new fathers and adoptive parents, we offer six weeks of paid parental leave. Moms and Dads working at Southwest have 12 months from the date of the birth or adoption to use this paid parental leave—allowing families the flexibility to use this benefit in a way that works best for their needs.
After all, Southwest is fueled by a desire to connect People to what’s important in their lives—and that includes connecting our Employees to what’s important at home.
It’s with a deep sense of gratitude that I start back to work at Southwest Airlines tomorrow. I’ve been on paternity leave for the past six weeks after the birth of my second son. It has been some of the best weeks of my life. It’s been life giving and family affirming and just overall beautiful. This time allowed us to connect with our new little one and ease into being a family of four. I was able to help my first son adjust to being a big brother and share the attention of his parents. This time provided the space to just focus on each other, and it was fantastic. It’s nothing trivial for a company to provide paternity leave and so I’m really grateful. I really appreciate how my Team picked up the slack in my absence. Projects continued, with workloads being shifted even while we were short-staffed. There’s a cost to someone being out and it will be paid by the people who help create the opportunity. The world kept spinning in my absence. But there’s a beautiful bit of space created that gives way to something really remarkable on the other side. In a world where we are defined by what we do, create, or produce, there’s something very healthy and even moral about a company that puts in place policies that show family should come first. It’s not just time off. It’s something so much more. It’s a step in the right direction for our family, for a company, and even our society. We should be striving to create environments (work, social, and spiritual) that give us a better way to be human and allow us to invest in what really matters. So, I go back to work with a thankful heart. Thanks to all the friends, family, and Cohearts (co-workers) who helped out, encouraged us, brought food, and so much more. I go back rejuvenated and more focused than ever before. Thanks for one of the best seasons of my life. I’ll be hitting the ground running tomorrow.