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Facebook employees now get 20 days to mourn, extended family benefits

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Screen capture, 2017

Silicon Valley’s never-ending race to attract and retain tech employees — whether it be spent on expansive campuses or lavish benefits — reveals a lot about what North Americans truly desire (and need) in their working lives.

Yesterday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced that the company is expanding its already generous benefits package to include expanded family and bereavement leave.

The highlights:

  • 3 days of paid leave to care for a family member with a short-term illness (renews every 12 months);
  • Up to 6 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member with a long-term illness (renews every 12 months);
  • 10 days of bereavement leave for an extended family member;
  • 20 days of bereavement leave for an immediate family member.

Sandberg said that the doubling of Facebook’s bereavement benefits was directly related to the death of her own husband in 2015.

“This is personal for me,” Sandberg told a crowd at a women’s leadership conference on Feb. 7 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. “I lost my husband very suddenly. Facebook provided leave and flexibility, and now we’re doing more.”

Sandberg’s husband Dave Goldberg died from head trauma after falling off a treadmill at a Mexican resort in 2015 — CBS News reported a heart arrhythmia may have also contributed to his death.

Sandberg’s estimated net worth is over $1 billion USD.

Facebook has an estimated 17,048 employees as of Dec. 31, 2016 and has international offices in Toronto and Vancouver.

Workers’ bereavement rights in Canada

In Canada, the federal Labour Code provides a minimum of three days paid bereavement leave for all employees. This only applies to immediate family members and doesn’t cover regular days off or additional time off during a scheduled vacation.

So if your mother were to die on a Friday, you would only get Monday off.  If she were to die during your vacation, you would not get additional days off.

Depending on your province, like in Manitoba, this leave is not required to be paid, however, “employers can, and often do, give greater benefits than those provided for in the legislation.”

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