Meeting Employee Demand for Parent Leave Policies

05/29/2024 Written by: Reliance Matrix

Employee leave has become a growing challenge for many employers as states begin to implement their own laws and regulations surrounding leaves of absence. For organizations with employees operating in multiple different states, keeping up with the latest state and federal laws and EEOC guidance, can be a challenge; however, the demand from employees looking for organizations that provide this leave is growing significantly.

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The Impact on Employee Opinion:

Many employers today are looking for ways to better manage and understand all of the ways that the various types of leave impact both their employees and their bottom line. The majority of employees in the labor market today are looking for employers offering these benefits, resulting in an increased threat of employee turnover for those who are not. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, only 27% of workers today have access to paid family leave through their employers. Those employers that have begun implementing more family-conscious benefits such as parental or bonding leave, have been known to realize higher employee satisfaction and be seen as a desirable employer in the marketplace. According to a global survey from Ernst and Young,  83% of millennials said they would be more likely to join a company that offers paid parental leave benefits. While private corporations are not legally required to provide their employees with such leave policies, unless otherwise required by state or federal law, it does have an impact on how they're seen.

Parental and Bonding Leave vs. Pregnancy Leave:

The landscape of parental and bonding leave in comparison to pregnancy-specific leave can be quite complex. The distinction between these two leave types is that parental bonding leave is designed to accommodate time for a new parent to spend with their child, while pregnancy-related leave policies are provided for those who are recovering from a pregnancy-related medical procedure or condition, including conditions throughout the pregnancy period, during and after giving birth to a new child. Employers must be cautious of the difference between these two policies, as they are often tied to state and federal laws.

Due to the nature of these leave policies, employers need to be aware of any potential discrimination exposures when it comes to parental bonding leaves. According to a report from Just Capital, only 9% of America's largest corporations provide parity in parental leave of 12+ weeks for both primary and secondary caregivers. An organization may open themselves up to significant exposure should their parental leave policies be unequal to employees based on their gender, caregiving status or other factors. These policies must also be in addition to the time provided for recovery for the birthing parent.

The Bottom Line:

In the employee labor market we have today, the need for more family-conscious employee parental leave benefits is significantly increasing. In addition to the requirements on the state and federal levels, it is becoming an increasingly desired benefit for the majority of employees in the market today. As an employer, being conscious and proactive about these policies and regulations can not only ensure that your organization remains compliant, but it can also help you be seen as a desired employer to help retain and attract employees.

Reach out to your AssuredPartners team for additional support or for more information on Reliance Matrix as your organization considers the importance of crafting valuable employee leave policies.

Need more insights? Your local AssuredPartners team can help.

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