Anyone who’s been in for a meeting with David (whether a client or a potential client) knows his overall philosophy is to “Retire While You Work.” He’s built up a team over the last few years that is extremely well-rounded, and they provide first-class service to each client. During the summer of 2018, David and I started having discussions about the type of benefits we could add to take it to the next level for our employees like we do for our clients, and to truly embrace his philosophy ourselves. After many, many hours of discussions, proposals and revisions, we settled on some new benefits that are virtually unheard of in the financial services industry.
A few highlights:
Our original vacation policy provided two weeks of paid vacation time. Our new policy (implemented in 2019) provides unlimited paid time off for employees that have been with DAWG for one year. It is extremely important to us that our employees feel empowered to take time away from the office to relax, recharge, travel and live a well-balanced life. To reinforce how important it is to truly take time away (and not just take a “staycation”), we also offer a vacation bonus to help offset some of the costs of travel. This bonus is offered once per year. We also recommend that employees take a minimum of two weeks off per year.
This new policy has worked well for us and shows that we trust each other and can keep the office running smoothly while our employees take time away. Certain times of the year we try to avoid taking vacation time but will work with the employee if extenuating circumstances arise (i.e.: a family emergency). We track all vacation time and put everything on a shared calendar so we can better plan coverage for when an employee is out of the office.
Another new policy we implemented is a maternity leave policy – we now offer three months of paid maternity leave, with options for a fourth month, to employees for pregnancy, childbirth, nursing an infant, or adoption. Employees may decide to return to work full time at the conclusion of four months (with three months being paid at 100% of salary, and the fourth month at 50% of salary), or to slowly transition back from part-time to full-time over the fourth month (at 100% of salary). The transitional fourth month starts with two workdays per week, and gradually increases by one workday per week until full-time status is reached.
We also offer a paid paternity leave policy of up to eight weeks, which can be taken in full at once or split as needed to best benefit the employee and their family. One example: taking four weeks of leave immediately after birth, returning to work, and then taking four more weeks when their spouse returns to work. Maternity and paternity leave policies apply to employees that have been with the firm for one year.
If an employee has been with the firm for less than one year, we offer up to eight weeks of paid maternity/paternity leave and the return schedule is discussed/finalized with their manager before they depart on leave.
When we were developing the maternity leave policy, I never imagined I would be the first employee to use it! My duties were split amongst our three relationship managers and I began training them at the start of my last trimester. I decided to take three full months and transition back to full-time work during the fourth month. Not having to worry about halted pay while I was on leave allowed me to completely focus on enjoying time with my newborn and husband. I can’t stress enough how rare this is and how much it is truly needed when you’re in survival mode! My coworkers did a wonderful job of covering for me while I was on leave. Having the trust, support and commitment from David and the team to allow me to start this new chapter in my life is something I’ll never forget.