Parental leave—Good for families and employers

 

Get ready for the next baby boom—courtesy of the millennials. Because of this, parental leave will grow in importance. In Canada, only about one in five new mothers get maternity leave top-ups from their employers to complement their government benefits. However, those companies that are topping up are seeing a return on their investment by way of more loyal employees.[1],[2]

 

Some employers balk at the costs around providing parental leave, including hiring a temp, decreased productivity from colleagues covering for the team member on leave and the price tag of providing benefits while a worker is out. But, losing a talented employee is more costly when you figure in the resources needed to recruit and train a replacement.[3]

 

In the U.S., Google® says its parental leave policy helps the organization avoid costly turnover and retain the skills and expertise of parents. The tech giant reported increased retention rates after boosting its paid leave from 12 weeks to 18 weeks for biological moms at its American offices, where new parents are only entitled to up to 12 weeks—and that’s unpaid.[4] Google executive Susan Wojcicki wrote in The Wall Street Journal®, “I know from experience that being a mother gave me a broader sense of purpose, more compassion and a better ability to prioritize and get things done efficiently.”[5] Here in Canada, companies like Vancity Credit Union make sure employees receive up to 85 percent of their regular salaries for as many as 52 weeks when growing their families.[6]

 

Benefits of parental leave

 

Evidence shows that parental leave benefits both parents and employers:[7],[8],[9]

 

  • It pays to give new parents a cushion: 96 percent of women who receive maternity leave top-ups return to their jobs, whereas only 77 percent who do not receive them go back, according to a Statistics Canada report.[10]
  • According to research by Ernst & Young, “millennials around the world are more likely than other generations to cite paid parental leave as an important benefit.”
  • A generous parental leave program builds a company’s culture, which helps make it “easier to recruit outstanding people.” For example, staffing firm Synergis, which competes against huge companies, grew 25 percent in 2015, thanks in part to the 12 paid weeks it offers to new moms. “Our culture is a great differentiator,” said CEO Doug Ross. “How we treat our people makes us stand out not just as employers but also in our space.”

 

Tips for parental leave

Update your benefits for parents with these inspiring tips. They won’t work for every business, but they’ll get your creative juices flowing:[11],[12],[13]

 

Be prepared. Document processes and procedures touched by parents going out on leave to make the transition smooth. Your team also will need to cross train to cover for new parents. Their absence is an opportunity for colleagues to take on more responsibility and expand their skills. If necessary, develop relationships with freelancers to ensure your productivity doesn’t flag.

 

Support child care. For parents who work outside the home, child care is a major concern and expense. Onsite child care and/or child care subsidies may not be on the table for most businesses. But, a bring-your-child-to-work policy could really help out parents on school holidays. Kids experience a different side of their parents, and it helps “foster a workplace community.” To show you understand the huge role of child care, provide new parents with a diaper bag or children’s backpack for school-agers. A well-organized bag eases child-care and school drop off.

 

Offer novel perks. For example, Twitter® hosts quarterly roundtables for new parents and parents to be to chat about family life. This is a low-cost idea that could be adopted by an organization of any size. Ask your people for suggestions, and turn to them for leadership and coordination.

 

Say congratulations! Last but not least, send new parents a gift to celebrate their new arrival. An imprinted hooded towel and burp cloth, snuggly bear or microfleece blanket shows parents their “work family” is excited about its latest member!

 

Customize a parental leave program that works for your people and is compliant with federal, provincial and local laws. Happy, healthy parents make for happy, productive employees!

[1] Grant, Tavia. “Employer Maternity Leave Top-Ups Rare.” The Globe and Mail. 23 Aug. 2012. Web. 1 June 2016. <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/employer-maternity-leave-top-ups-rare/article4307868/>

 

[2] Schawbel, Dan. “10 Workplace Trends You’ll See In 2016.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 1 Nov. 2015. Web. 20 May 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2015/11/01/10-workplace-trends-for-2016/3/#25667bdb25e8>.

 

[3] Dishman, Lydia. “The Real Cost Of Paid Parental Leave For Business.” Fast Company. Fast Company, Inc., 28 Jan. 2016. Web. 20 May 2016. <http://www.fastcompany.com/3055977/second-shift/the-real-cost-of-paid-parental-leave-for-business>.

 

[4] Shandrow, Kim Lachance. “10 U.S. Companies With Radically Awesome Parental Leave Policies.” Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur Media, Inc., 11 Aug. 2015. Web. 20 May 2016. <https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/249467>.

 

[5] Wojcicki, Susan. “Susan Wojcicki: Paid Maternity Leave Is Good for Business.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 20 May 2016. <http://www.wsj.com/articles/susan-wojcicki-paid-maternity-leave-is-good-for-business-1418773756>.

 

[6] Yerema, Richard and Leung, Kristina. “Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2016.” Mediacorp Canada. 8 Nov. 2015. Web. 1 June 2016. <http://content.eluta.ca/top-employer-vancity>

 

[7] Wojcicki, Susan. “Susan Wojcicki: Paid Maternity Leave Is Good for Business.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 20 May 2016. <http://www.wsj.com/articles/susan-wojcicki-paid-maternity-leave-is-good-for-business-1418773756>.

 

[8] Adamczyk, Alicia. “These Are the Companies With the Best Parental Leave Policies.” Time. Time, 4 Nov. 2015. Web. 27 May 2016. <http://time.com/money/4098469/paid-parental-leave-google-amazon-apple-facebook/>.

 

[9] Haden, Jeff. “This Company Gives Mothers 12 Weeks (Paid!) Maternity Leave.” Inc.com. Inc., 15 Jan. 2016. Web. 27 May 2016. <http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/this-company-gives-mothers-12-weeks-paid-maternity-leave.html>.

 

[10] Grant, Tavia. “Employer Maternity Leave Top-Ups Rare.” The Globe and Mail. 23 Aug. 2012. Web. 1 June 2016. <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/employer-maternity-leave-top-ups-rare/article4307868/>

 

[11] “Tips for Employers on How to Support Employees Going on Parental Leave.” CareerMums. CAREERMUMS.ALL, 12 Sept. 2010. Web. 20 May 2016. <http://www.careermums.com.au/content/employers_parentalleave>.

 

[12] Tengel, Geri. “5 Tips For Making Parental Leave Good For Your Small Business.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 27 May 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/geristengel/2015/10/14/5-tips-for-making-parental-leave-good-for-your-small-business>.

 

[13] Shandrow, Kim Lachance. “10 U.S. Companies With Radically Awesome Parental Leave Policies.” Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur Media, Inc., 11 Aug. 2015. Web. 20 May 2016. <https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/249467>.

 

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