The Real Cost of NOT Providing Paid Family Leave

Currently, the United States is among the worst nations when it comes to their parental leave policies. In fact, the United States is the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee paid time off for new mothers. While countries like Denmark, Norway, and Croatia offer a policy that allows PTO for an entire year for new families, the United States’ policy states that companies are only required to offer women 12 weeks of unpaid time off.

 

Despite the disappointing parental leave policies the US has implemented, some companies are adapting great policies for new families. Check out these four companies that provide fantastic leaves and allows parents to focus on their family:

 

Facebook

After CEO and Co-Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife had their first baby, Zuckerberg changed the way he ran his company. In an interview with CNBC, Zuckerberg explained that he not only started to leave work early three times a week to be there for his wife and child, but felt like a change in his parental policy was vital to support his parent employees at Facebook.

 

Companies should provide paid family leave

 

He extended his parental leave policy to four paid months off to all his full-time employees of any gender, including those in same-sex marriages. Zuckerberg also created parking spots at Facebook’s Headquarters for pregnant women following a request from his COO, Sheryl Sandberg.

 

Twitter

As of May 2016, Twitter updated their parental leave policy. They currently offer a “Gender-Neutral” parental leave which guarantees any parent up to 20 weeks of PTO. Their gender neutral policy includes mothers, fathers and families who are adopting. This is an updated policy that doubled time off for fathers from 10 weeks to 20 weeks.

 

TD Bank

As a result of their campaign, “TD Bank Family First”, TD Bank improved their parental leave policy in June 2017. Their campaign launched a survey to over 1,500 people to gauge their opinions about the importance of parental leave policies. Their survey revealed that 62 percent of Americans believe a parental leave policy is a vital factor when searching for a job. Additionally, over a third of Americans believe parental leave policies should be more inclusive to modern families.

 

TD Bank now offers 16 weeks of paid leave to all parents welcoming a new child by birth or adoption.

 

American Express

American Express is going above and beyond for new mothers and their babies. The credit card company increased employee benefits to cover reproductive and fertility treatments, surrogacy, lactation, and adoption costs. Additionally, they provide up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave for any family welcoming a baby through birth, adoption, or surrogacy.

 

As more and more companies implement better family leave policies, companies have revealed that the costs to cover paid leave is worth keeping talented employees that plan to start a family. Organizations like Paid Leave US are trying to equalize paid leave for all families in the United States. They argue that paid leave for all US citizens will not only increase labor force participation, but it will also decrease the infant mortality rate in the United States by 10 percent.

 

While these companies provide a great start to paid family leave policies in the US, currently, only 14 percent of Americans are reaping these benefits. Most companies do not provide any paid leave for new parents which can and do cost them top talent who would rather feel that their work-life balance is valued.

 

Employers need to stop fixating on the costs that are associated with paid family leave and start considering the costs associated with not providing it. Without these plans, companies' employer brand is impacted, they lose out on high quality candidates, their employee experience takes a hit, and in the end, it all affects their bottom line. Don't fall victim to this negligent practice!

Ali is a former Phenom People Intern. She is currently a senior at the University of Delaware.

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