Parental leave has been a hot topic in the United States in recent years with the federal government starting to offer paid parental leave and San Francisco becoming the first U.S. city to mandate full paid parental leave in Spring 2016.
However, only a minority of America’s workers have dedicated paid parental leave according to the the Paid Family and Medical Leave Fact Sheet produced by the United States Department of Labor.
Most have to patch together different types of paid leave if they want any time to recover from childbirth and bond with their children. It means that even if they do come back to work, they’ll be struggling to manage parenthood without any sick leave or vacation time remaining, which isn’t healthy for them or your company.
While offering paid parental leave may not be right for every business – and small businesses in particular understandably have concerns over the cost implications – it is worth weighing the pros and cons carefully.
If you make paid maternity available, it’s more likely that a mother will come back to her job after the birth of her child, according to the Office of Management and Budget of the US Government, saving you recruitment and training costs down that line. In addition, if moms are returning to work soon after their child is born due to financial pressures, there is a risk that they’ll be distracted and less productive. Offering some paid leave could help ensure that whey they do return, they are fit for work and at their most productive.
And it’s not just for mothers.
All parents benefit from time off to bond with their child. It can lead to better health for the child, a better family life, reduced stress and increased happiness and productivity.