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If you run across an American Airlines employee with an extra spring to his or her step, it might be because of the carrier’s new maternity and adoption policy. Effective March 1, many AA employees will receive “up to 10 weeks of fully paid time off to recover from pregnancy and delivery” and/or “up to $4,000 in financial support and positive space travel related to adoptions.”

American Airlines current maternity policy is only to allow six weeks of unpaid time off, as required by law. So, this is a massive shift.

Not all AA employees will be covered. The policy applies to US-based employees, and it doesn’t extend to employees working for American’s regional airlines (such as Envoy Air and Mesa Airlines). Also, employees must have one year of continual service with the airline prior to either the date of delivery or date the adoption is final. However, both union and non-unionized employees will be covered.

Shortly after the news broke yesterday, I spoke with an American Airlines flight attendant about the new policy. She verged on tears with excitement over the announcement. She had been considering trying to have a child, but the prospect of having so much unpaid time off was a hard sell for her and her significant other’s financial situation. The chance to have 10 weeks of paid time off would make a huge financial difference to them.

While this new policy doesn’t have any direct impact on flyers, we applaud American for making this family-positive and morale-boosting policy change.

Featured image courtesy of Miami Herald via Getty Images.

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