Expanded paid leave programs, in particular parental paid leave, has been on the rise in recent years, mostly as a response to employee demand. These changes are not only beneficial to employees but also offer significant perks to business owners as well.
Supporting the work-life balance of parents is critical if a company wants to maintain a healthy company culture along with productivity and it’s just the right thing to do. This blog offers an analysis of how ensuring that your business complies with state and local laws AND offers additional leave benefits is an asset to both employer and employee. It’s information that’s essential for employers to consider.
Where we are now
First, let’s examine what the workforce looks like without parental paid leave. This study found that by only offering the required unpaid time off allowances, such as the FMLA, 1 in 4 women will go back to work within 10 days of giving birth. This statistic is shameful for a number of reasons, least of all because it demonstrates how inconsiderate the modern workplace still is of the employee’s mental and physical health.
California has taken steps to avoid this dilemma. As of July 2020, the state now offers up to 8 weeks paid leave under its’ Paid Family Leave law, an increase from the previous six weeks allowance. And from there, many state and private sector employers are taking it a step further with additional paid time off. What are the benefits of this? Let’s review.
Paid leave benefits all
To start, a robust parental paid leave program can help ensure that your employees are both physically and mentally fit to carry out their duties. This not only encourages a higher employee retention rate but can attract new talent since many workers are looking at paid leave options when considering job prospects. Expanded paid leave has also shown to boost employee morale, improving workplace engagement and productivity. There’s very little downside to a leave program that inspires employees to perform their best when on the job.
So why would an employer be reluctant to offer expanded parental paid leave? Cost is part of the issue of course, but so is workplace culture. In regards to alleviating cost, until Congress can come to an agreement to offer business owners extensive paid leave relief, some eligible employers can find aid in easing the financial burden with payroll tax refunds.
Company sentiment regarding taking leave could be even more difficult to maneuver through, since we know that making changes to a workplace culture is hard. As employee feedback has consistently revealed, many feel pressured not to request leave even if available to them, for fear of stigma from both management and their peers. It is therefore important for employers to train management in fostering a workplace culture that celebrates taking care of ones’ health.
Other related benefits employers can offer outside of paid leave is a flexible schedule for employees that accommodates childcare pickup and drop off, doctor appointments, and other important responsibilities. Some companies even offer daycare at the worksite, a particularly helpful perk that relieves the employee of the stress in additional commute time.
We know a competitive employer attracts and maintains the most talented employees. But we’re also aware that there can be a fair amount of confusion knowing just which benefits and programs are right for your company. Eos HR can help. We’re a team of professionals working with small businesses to develop the policies that make the most sense for their employee health AND their own competitive growth. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.