Parental leave, always a concern among workers planning to have kids, has made headlines this year as companies and policymakers have weighed in on this important employee benefit.
As of this April, New York state and San Francisco passed new paid leave laws. Meanwhile, research and news articles have pointed out the U.S.'s position as an outlier when it comes to paid parental leave. The recent interest, along with the fact that many Millennials are having, or are thinking about having kids, means top companies who haven't looked at parental leave policies recently should do so ahead of the new year.
A growing body of research shows that offering paid leave isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s good for business. Paid leave programs increase worker retention and reduce turnover, which helps businesses avoid the cost of having to hire and train employees to replace those who leave to care for new children.
One study on the economic impact of paid family leave in California found that the vast majority of businesses in the state saw no effect or a positive one. “Eighty-seven percent say it has not increased costs,” writes Claire Cain Miller for The New York Times. “Nine percent say they saved money, because of decreased turnover or benefit payments.”
All that said, here are three ways to implement parental leave at your company:
1. Determine how much paid leave will cost and start with a program you can afford now. Adding this benefit sooner rather than later shows that you care about your workforce, and you can always extend the program in the future as budgets allow.
2. Be inclusive. Understand that there are many different types of families in your workplace and don’t enforce gender or relational stereotypes in your policies. At Indeed, we offer parental leave regardless of gender to ensure whoever is the primary caregiver has time with their newborn.
3. Build parental leave into your workplace culture and employer brand. Make sure employees—especially males—feel comfortable taking advantage of the program. Encourage managers and C-suite leaders to use parental leave when they’re eligible to set an example for their teams. Publish your policy online and share info about it in interviews, since many people might be uncomfortable inquiring about it early in the hiring process.
At Indeed, we offer paid parental leave regardless of gender to ensure whoever is the primary caregiver has time with their newborn. Research shows that paid parental leave boosts worker productivity and improves employee loyalty and morale. In addition, with other industrialized nations already offering paid leave, providing these benefits makes U.S. businesses more competitive in a global talent pool.