Why Expanding Parental Paid Leave Is A Smart Idea.

Expanded paid leave programs, in particular parental paid leave, has been on the rise in recently, both as a response to employee demand and now to buffer the financial blow of the pandemic. In this week’s blog we’ll discuss why these changes are not only beneficial to employees but also offer significant perks to business owners as well.

First, let’s examine what the workforce looks like without parental paid leave. One study shows that even with unpaid time off allowances, such as the FMLA, 1 in 4 women will go back to work within 10 days of giving birth. It’s by no means a stretch to come to the conclusion that such an employee would be overtaxed and likely unproductive, so it doesn’t make sense for either the employee’s mental and physical health nor the profitability of the employer for this to occur.

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.

To start, a robust parental paid leave program can help ensure that your employees are both physically and mentally fit enough to carry out their duties. This not only encourages a higher employee retention rate but also can attract new talent, as 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.

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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 not only provide expanded paid leave but also to train management in fostering a workplace culture that celebrates the health and wellness of its’ employees.

Some other related benefits employers can offer employees outside of paid leave is a flexible schedule for employees that accommodates childcare pickup and drop off, doctor appointments, and other important errands. 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 competitive growth. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

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