What it means to not worry about healthcare.

At Fog Creek, we often discuss our values and policies because we’re really proud of them. Today we want to describe a real-world example of how our health and parental leave policies serve our employees to demonstrate what we mean.

Fog Creek’s parental leave is designed to implement one of our founding principles: we hire the most skilled, capable people and treat them like humans, with the utmost respect. One of our employees, Jacob, generously agreed to share his family’s story to illustrate the difference this makes.

Jacob, the guy in the hat

Jacob is a senior member of our technical staff. He was a summer intern at Fog Creek in 2006, joined full time in 2007, left at the end of 2009 to work for another company, and then rejoined us remotely in the Spring of 2013. At the end of that year, Jacob and his wife were facing challenges having a baby. It would not be possible without medical intervention. Luckily, they had access to specialists who could help them.

During that unsure time, Fog Creek’s policy of providing truly comprehensive health care gave Jacob peace of mind. Our plan covers all our US based employees. The basic concept is: Your insurance is free. You pay nothing. You have no copayments, no deductible, you don’t pay for any doctor visits or prescriptions. It is by far the best health coverage deal you will find at any employer in America.

We’ve had this policy at Fog Creek for over 10 years. What we’ve learned is with that kind of coverage, employees like Jacob have an easier time navigating even the most fraught and challenging life experiences. Jacob put his faith in Fog Creek to make good on our promise of all inclusive health care, and we worked to show that faith was justified. A year later, Jacob and his wife Jennifer found out they were pregnant.

The next 9 months were full of check ups, genetic screenings, ultrasounds, and prenatal visits, all of which Fog Creek covered. When Jacob’s wife went into labor in January of this year, our health care let them focus on recovery without worrying about the cost of hospitalization. Jacob did not pay a single bill out of pocket and, in January, their beautiful son, Jackson, was born.

As a resident physician caring for sick patients in the hospital, Jacob’s wife does not have the time flexibility of an employee at Fog Creek. She and Jacob decided that he would be the primary caregiver of their newborn. At Fog Creek we give all new primary caregivers, including adoptive and foster parents, 12 weeks off at 100% pay (employees who are in their first year scale up from 3 weeks of leave at hire to the full 12 weeks). Combined with vacation and flex time, Jacob was able to spend the better part of 7 months taking care of his new baby.

Our policy had its intended effect of making a major life transition as easy as possible for our employees and their families. For Jennifer, going back to work was easier knowing Jacob would be with her son all day. For Jackson, Jacob thinks their time together made a huge difference on his early personality.

“If he’d only had 6 weeks or something it would have been different for sure.”

Many companies use well-intentioned but vague language to describe the benefits they offer, and the goals behind those benefits. We’re very grateful to Jacob for being brave enough to share his family’s story, with the hope of outlining not just how we want to treat our employees at Fog Creek, but how every company can invest in supporting their employees and their families.

If those values make sense to you, and would help you do your best work, we hope you’ll come join our team.