Why US companies are increasing the parental benefits plate

While America still doesn’t offer paid parental leave nationally, one of the very few countries in the world that doesn’t pay parents, more and more companies are taking over parental leave with extended leave and paid, with the aim of combating the talent war and ensuring organizational diversity.

Organizations that have recently strengthened their parental leave policies include consultancies Bath and PwCtech giant Google and retailer Neiman Marcus.

It comes as companies redouble their post-pandemic efforts to achieve gender parity in the workplace, and the War on Talent and the Great Quit rages on, with four million workers leaving their jobs in April. 2022 in the United States, to seek higher wages and more flexibility, according to the Labor Department.

The United States is the only rich country without paid parental leave

The United States is the only wealthy country without any nationwide guaranteed paid parental leave. While nine states and the District of Columbia mandate up to 12 weeks of maternity leave, federal law guarantees new parents only six weeks of unpaid leave, and not all working women are eligible; while paternity leave and leave for unborn parents are not even on the table.

This is compared to the UK, which offers 39 weeks paid, six weeks at 90% of their salary and the rest at a lower rate. Japan offers 52 weeks, with 67% of salary paid for the first six months and 50% for the following six months; Canada 51 weeks; Sweden 68 weeks, which can be divided equally between the parents; and Hungary and Finland, a staggering 160 and 161 weeks respectively.

President Biden has sought to expand access to paid family leave, initially through his Build Back Better program, but that is now on hold, despite a growing number of business leaders calling on Congress to tackle to paid family leave to help the economy, there is no movement.

The benefits for employees, companies and society are significant

Research has shown that paid parental leave offers compelling benefits for parents, children and societies in countries that provide it.

It improves family well-being and improves the economy, with some studies showing that paid parental leave increases women’s participation in the labor market and reduces the gender pay gap.

When it comes to businesses, the benefits are even greater. In light of the tensions caused by the pandemic, the current war on talent and the focus on diversity, including women in the workplace, has never been more important.

A McKinsey report reveals that parents who have taken parental leave consider it an extremely positive experience.

To attract and retain talented women and parents, companies around the world are increasing benefits, with extended paid parental leave being popular. Not only does paid time off have an impact on both parenting and mental well-being at work, it shows that a company cares about its employees.

Bain, PwC, Google and Neiman Marcus extend parental leave policies to attract talent

Bain is the latest organization to relaunch its parenting policy, with the aim of competing for rare talent and as a diversity and equity initiative to help develop and attract top diverse talent.

The Boston-based management consulting firm has extended its paid parental leave for US and Canadian employees to 21 weeks, regardless of gender, with the option to extend paid leave with vacation up to 26 weeks. The new policy covers birth parents, adoption and surrogacy, and further includes coverage for assisted reproduction services, assistance for same-sex couples and reimbursements for adoption and surrogacy. .

According Kara GruverChief Talent Officer of Bain, equal parental leave for all parents is an “important step in moving us forward on gender equality, ensuring that all of our employees at Bain can thrive, both personally and professionally.” .

Bain’s adjustment to its parental policy follows PwC’s recent adjustment to its parental leave policy. Last month, the big four firms extended parental leave for its 55,000 U.S. employees from eight to 12 weeks. And that comes as KPMG extended paid parental leave to 12 weeks last October.

Also last month, retailer Neiman Marcus Group unveiled its new parental benefits introducing 16 weeks paid leave for those in adoption, surrogacy or foster care, and increasing paid leave by 24 weeks for mothers who give birth. This is in addition to the two weeks available to all parents for care, should the need arise.

Earlier this year, Google proposed a series of new leave policies, including giving parents who are giving birth 24 weeks off, up from 18 previously, while all parents will get 18 weeks off, up from 12 weeks. . In technical terms, Google’s offer is good, with Microsoft offering 20 weeks for biological parents and 12 for unborns, and Meta only giving 16. Netflix is ​​one of the best, however, offering leave unlimited maternity and paternity during the first year. , whether birth or adoption.

More than just leave – other parental benefits

As companies compete for the best and most diverse talent, parental allowances are about more than just offering services, discounts and support in all areas of becoming and being a parent.

In addition to providing 16 weeks of paid parental leave, EY is offering mothers free breastfeeding consultation and supplies, as well as family transition coaching for new parents returning to work.

Also ahead of parenthood, Johnson & Johnson is offering 17 weeks of paid parental leave, in addition to childcare discounts, and they’ll even cover the cost of delivering milk to breastfeeding mothers when they travel.

Along the same lines, outdoor apparel brand Patagonia pays nannies to accompany parents on business trips, in addition to 12 to 16 weeks of paid parental leave and on-site childcare. While parental benefits at Starbucks include 10 days of subsidized backup care each year to help ease the burden of finding last-minute care in the event of unexpected events.

LinkedIn considers both the pre- and post-parenting stages in their generous offering. In addition to providing 20 weeks of paid parental leave, the company covers three smart cycles for fertility treatments, including two years of cryopreservation egg storage; $10,000 for adoption assistance and up to $20,000 to cover surrogacy costs. For parents, employees receive 10 days of emergency child care and reimbursement of up to $2,000 in child care expenses.

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