How Indie Beauty Companies Develop Maternity And Paternity Leave Policies

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 12 brand founders and executives: How did you develop your maternity/paternity leave policy?

Gwen Jimmere CEO and Founder, Naturalicious

I think about what I wanted when I was pregnant. What would have been my perfect scenario? I was very lucky to have a career, when I worked in corporate, where I was able to be off for 12 weeks with full pay the entire time. Most people in the U.S. don't have the luxury, though it should be the norm. And, honestly, more time would have been ideal. 

I build all my company policies around putting myself in my staff's shoes. I believe the best business cultures are ones that care about the person first. A happy team member makes for a better employee. They'll work harder to ensure you have happy customers, which means more revenue for the business. It all goes hand in hand.

Lynn Ross Human Resources Manager, INIKA Organic

Most of our employees are women, and we believe it is critical to support them through all stages of life, including the important personal milestone of becoming a parent. We encourage “keep-in-touch-days” for the duration of parental leave to help new moms (and dads!) feel connected to the business. We employ staff all over the world and adhere to parental leave legislation in their respective countries.

Annie Tevelin Founder, SkinOwl

Taking time off is a challenge for any business owner, big or small. I personally gave birth to my first child [while leading SkinOwl], so I experienced firsthand what new mothers and fathers experience with a newborn. This gave me better insight into how best to develop our own leave plan. Our team is small but mighty, and each person plays a valuable role in making the company go round. 

We work with salaried and contracted consultants who work with our brand throughout the week, but also run their own businesses. We have worked with the majority of our team members since day one and have a close relationship and excellent communication. We have not had an employee take maternity/paternity leave (other than myself), but would expect one-month notice to prep the team while we are one person down. I personally took off three months, but worked part-time throughout my maternity leave. It was what felt most comfortable to me, but each person is different.

Kay Cola CEO and Founder, TheOrganiBrands

We follow certain state guidelines and, as a mother of three, this is something that is important to me. People should not have to worry about work after having a baby and, unfortunately, I was working during and after labor.

Danielle Gronich Co-Founder, CLEARstem Skincare

We haven't come across this yet, but my plan is to find a rockstar intern or consultant during any leave time. The intern would be for a service or support role, the consultant would be for more strategic roles. This would accomplish some key things: Give them a fantastic opportunity to learn with us, help us dial in our employee onboarding process, and get an infusion of fresh, new insight from an outside perspective. The original team member would return to work on their own terms, whether it's part-time, different responsibilities, etc. There is always a solution and, since we only hire A players, we will do whatever it takes to help them with their work-life balance.

Luis Merchan President of Consumer Goods, Flora Growth Corp.

We understand that families need time and flexibility when they embark in the parenthood journey. With this in mind, we established a policy that complies with regulations and gives parents the opportunity to spend time with their spouses when they need to based on their specific time requirements. It’s important that during one of the most important times of their lives, parents can spend the time they need with their new family member.

Lynnsee van Gordon Founder, Anese

As an employer, we have an obligation to take care of our employees during an important milestone in their family’s life, but, as a business owner, also making sure that we can accommodate that time off and still run the business. Through research and consideration of the importance of family bonding, we were able to form a maternity/paternity leave policy that allowed our employees to spend quality time with their newborns and attend important appointments.

Jack Wolton Co-Founder, Object

As we’re very early stage, we don’t have any full-time employees, other than ourselves. To be honest, we don’t see that changing for some time as we love the flexibility that hiring freelancers gives us. You can hire the best talent but as they’re only part-time, it’s affordable.

However, in the coming months, we will be formalizing our maternity and paternity leave policy. Being able to provide shared parental leave so that both parents can take time off is important to us. We plan to do industry benchmarking and, then, offer the best policy that we can afford, at each stage of the business.

Awa Mballo Tall Founder, AMFA Beauty

Maternity leave is done according to Senegalese legislation, namely six weeks before and eight weeks after childbirth.

Safi Tshinsele Van Bellingen Founder, NEBEDAI

I haven’t developed a maternity/paternity leave policy. But, when the time comes, I will ensure that mothers and fathers get enough leave and that there are measures to make the process of breastfeeding while working easier. 

Michele Snyder SVP of Global Marketing, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

We looked at what was competitive in the market and spoke with our team members to evolve the policy as we grew as a company.

Marcella Cacci CEO and Founder, One Ocean Beauty

According to New York State employment requirements.

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