WEX Inc., a leading global provider of industry-leading corporate payments solutions, today announced it will offer full-time U.S. employees up to six weeks of fully paid parental leave. This benefit will be in addition to the company’s existing maternity leave allowance, which provides six to eight weeks of leave as short-term disability.

WEX’s paid parental leave policy went into effect on September 1, 2016 and is open to all new parents — whether through birth or adoption. The policy, which is retroactive to January 1 of this year, advances WEX’s position as a leading provider of family leave benefits.

According to published research from Working Mother and the Society for Human Resource Management, only 21 percent of American companies offer paid maternity leave, 17 percent include paid adoption leave and 17 percent offer paid paternity leave.

“At WEX, we recognize that our success is dependent on the success of our employees, and, as a result, we view paid parental leave as an integral part of our ongoing commitment to support employee health and wellbeing,” said Jenifer Rinehart, WEX’s SVP of human resources. “Expanding our parental leave program allows us to continue to excel in the industry, while offering employees support and flexibility through this incredibly pivotal time.”

Studies indicate that paid parental leave offers greater benefits for parents, children and companies than those that can be achieved through maternity leave alone. U.S. Department of Labor studies show that the increased engagement children receive as a result of parental leave can lead to a reduction in behavioral problems, increased cognitive and mental health outcomes, and higher test scores.

Rinehart added, “We consider ourselves lucky that some of our industry’s most driven, innovative and talented professionals work at WEX. We hope today’s announcement communicates to other forward-thinking, problem-solving professionals that WEX offers a future of extraordinary opportunity and the tools you need to succeed.”