Wall Street Journal

by Lauren Weber and Ryan Dezember / April 22, 2015

The world’s largest private-equity firm says it wants to become a better place for working mothers.

Blackstone Group LP BX +1.80% said Wednesday that it is extending its maternity leave benefits from 12 weeks at full pay to 16 weeks. The move, announced in a memo to employees, is designed in part to help the company compete for talented Wall Street women.

“The financial services industry has historically struggled to attract and retain women,” Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman said in the memo, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “By having strong policies in place that support working mothers…we hope to help make asset management a more attractive industry for women.”

A growing body of research shows that paid leave increases the likelihood of mothers returning to the workforce, and the share of employers offering at least some pay is on the rise, according to a report from the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management. Paid leave at a woman’s full salary remains rare, however; only 5% of U.S. employers offered that benefit in 2014, down from 7% in 2008.


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