Automobile organisation Ford has upgraded the parental leave policy offered to its 29,000 salaried employees in the US.Effective from 1 November 2018, the upgrade adds a range of new benefits for birth mothers and fathers, as well as adoptive parents and same sex couples. These improved provisions include increased time off for new parents to spend bonding with children, from two weeks to eight weeks for mothers and fathers, in addition to the six to eight weeks already available to birth mothers under the existing maternity plan.The organisation has also introduced a ‘new parent ramp-up programme’, which allows mothers and fathers to transition back to work following their parental leave. Under this new programme, employees can opt to work on a part-time basis for four weeks at full-time pay.Kiersten Robinson, chief HR officer at Ford, said: “My hope is that we see both mothers and fathers accessing these policies and setting an example for future generations. Recognising key life events, such as the addition of a child to a family, is critical if we are to appreciate and value the whole employee, personally and professionally.”She added: “What was really important to us was that the leave provision applied to both men and women. The pattern that we saw was that women were taking advantage of the previous policy, but not many men were taking it. That set a tone to some of our female employees that maybe it’s not OK.“We wanted to make sure that everyone felt as though this was a priority and they had the flexibility to take this time with their family.”Finally, Ford has increased amenities to support nursing mothers, which includes providing the storage and shipment of milk at the organisation’s expense if employee in question has to travel for business.