Story provided by Jose Garcia, Manager in New Member Solutions at USAA.
Jose Garcia is a full-time father to four, husband and employee of USAA as a Manager in New Member Solutions. Balance, along with compromise and understanding, are key components to his life, both personally and professionally. Where one area may need a little extra love, it is vital the other areas step in and help where they can. That’s where USAA comes in.
Late 2017, Jose and his wife, Asmahan, who is also an employee of USAA, welcomed their fourth child into the world with excitement and joy. While it is custom for the mother to receive maternal leave benefits, the same is not usually granted for the father. However, USAA decided in July of 2017 to make a change to this and instate a new benefit that provides birth parents, non-birth parents and adoptive parents with 12 weeks off at 100 percent pay. This new gave Jose the freedom to assist Asmahan, bond with his new son and acclimate to his new family dynamic.
For the births of his first three children, this benefit was not provided, but Jose and his family are thankful this has since changed. Instead of banking all his PTO for the year, Jose was relieved to be able to take his 12 weeks of paid time off with ease. In addition, people and processes were put in place to cover Jose’s role and take care of his team, ensuring that he wouldn’t return to a backlog of 12 weeks worth of emails and paperwork. On the personal side, Jose said he had time to bond with his new child and his other kids. He mentions that he thinks his kids benefitted from seeing the whole family together for an extended period of time during the new baby experience.
Jose said it was the “intangible” things that meant most during this time. Things like the aforementioned family bond, sharing the workload of a new child and keeping the kids occupied so his wife could rest or nurse the new baby. He said this experience was invaluable, giving him a whole new appreciation for his wife and all she does for their family.
When it comes to USAA’s paternity benefit, Jose is passionate and grateful. “Our country has not caught up with the rest of the world when it comes to this benefit,” he says. “When you provide this benefit, employees find a higher sense of loyalty to their company. Companies more than make up the money it takes to provide this benefit with increased engagement and loyalty. Some companies won’t implement because the government does not require it, but that’s where USAA stands out.”
This new perk at USAA is truly a culture shift that has benefitted hundreds of the company’s employees. “My dad worked two jobs when I was growing up,” Jose says, “and it makes me wonder if I would’ve had a different experience growing up if he could do this.”
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