Medtronic Introduces New Family Leave Policy

Employees are taking advantage of six additional weeks of paid time off to deal with family care needs.

November 2018 - The phone call surprised Monica Casillas.

 “She asked if I was interested in taking extra time off,” said Monica. “I was like ‘what do you mean, extra time off? Of course, I’m interested.’”

Medtronic employee Monica Casillas holding her son, Gabriel

Medtronic employee Monica Casillas and her son, Gabriel

The caller, from Medtronic, gave Monica details about a new company policy which had just taken effect. It allowed her to take an additional six weeks of paid time off from work to care for her newborn son, Gabriel.

“When I went into labor I was expecting to be back to work in six weeks,” said Monica, a Medtronic customer service representative in San Antonio, Texas. “Now Medtronic was offering six more weeks, to give me extra time to bond with my baby. I felt like I was really cared about,” she said.

The Medtronic Family Care Leave (FCL) Policy took effect May 1, 2018, for all full-time and part-time employees in the United States. It provides up to six additional weeks of paid time off for employees to care for sick family members or to support family impacted when a spouse, child or parent is called to active military duty. The benefit also covers mothers and fathers bonding with a new child (birth, adoptive or surrogate, and including non-birth parents). Combined with already existing parental benefits, mothers of newborns can now receive up to 14 weeks of paid time off and new fathers can receive up to 8 weeks.

When I went into labor I was expecting to be back to work in six weeks. Now Medtronic was offering six more weeks, to give me extra time to bond with my baby. I felt like I was really cared about.

Medtronic Customer Service Representative, Monica Casillas

"We believe we have created a benefit that goes well beyond current practice in the U.S. and affords Medtronic employees the valuable time they need with their families at critical times in their lives," said Carol Surface, chief human resources officer at Medtronic.

Medtronic employee's son laying on couch with broken leg.

Medtronic employee Justin Black’s son, Gabe


“It shows that Medtronic cares and wants to keep their employees,” said Justin Black, a Medtronic employee in Phoenix, Arizona. He took time off after his two-year-old son Gabe stepped on a toy, slipped and broke his left leg. Gabe needed to spend five weeks in a type of body cast, formally called a hip spica cast, from his chest down to his ankle—all to keep his leg immobile so it could heal properly.

“My wife and I were talking about, ‘what would we have done without this time off?’” said Justin. “It would have been a really big struggle. Even if you don’t use it, you don’t have to worry about what happens if your kid gets hurt or if an elderly parent falls and breaks a bone or gets really sick. That’s a real comfort.”

Nationwide, workers are placing greater importance on their employer’s policies toward employee families. A 2016 Deloitte survey found more than three quarters of workers in the U.S. said family leave policies could be a deciding factor in choosing one employer over another.

“Employees who know they’re supported are going to be more committed to the organization, and we will see that return reflected in employee engagement,” said Denise King, vice president of benefits and total rewards operations. “This says so much about the executive leadership team — they really care about our people.”

We believe we have created a benefit that goes well beyond current practice in the U.S. and affords Medtronic employees the valuable time they need with their families at critical times in their lives.

Medtronic Chief Human Resources Officer, Carol Surface

The fifth tenet of the Medtronic Mission, written more than 50 years ago by legendary Medtronic co-founder Earl Bakken, is to “recognize the personal worth of employees.” The new policy was developed with feedback from employees, and while it currently applies only to employees in the U.S., Medtronic is exploring the possibility of expanding it to workers in other countries.

“Being able to have this extra time off was a very helpful thing,” Casillas said. “To me it’s a blessing, an incredible blessing from Medtronic. It’s a great place to be employed.”