As a team of benefits strategists, we work hard every day to make sure we’re exceeding client expectations and providing the most innovative and value-generating plan designs and advisory services.
Qualifying federal government employees are one step closer to eligibility for a paid parental leave benefit to care for newborn, adoptive or foster children. This policy, just one byproduct of a mega-spending deal on Capitol Hill that only applies to federal employees, could nevertheless change the landscape of employment benefits.
Currently, military service members already have 12 weeks of paid leave available to them while federal civilian workers can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave. This spending bill however, which has been cobbled together to get enough “yeah” votes to avoid a government shutdown days before the Christmas holidays, would make paid parental leave available to a little more than two million civilian federal workers and Indiana’s nearly 20,000 federal workers.
I anticipate that this policy, which the President has indicated he will sign, may trickle down over time to impact the design of employee total rewards programs across the country for private companies as well as the non-federal public sector.
Making sure our Apex clients are ready for shifts in federal or state regulations, as well as employee expectations, is what we excel at as employee benefits strategists with robust in-house Human Resources and compliance teams. Our mission is to help clients maintain competitive advantage in their industry by offering the best employee benefits solutions possible while continuing to add value to their companies’ bottom lines.
What we’re seeing across public and private sectors is that organizations are recognizing – and increasingly acting upon the fact – that employees highly value work-life balance.
For any employer to attract and retain the best talent, especially as the largest demographic segments of full-time workers get younger, organizations must evolve with the expectations of their employees. Especially with the good economy driving low unemployment rates, our clients are looking for ways to retain their good associates. And, like I said, Congress may just have given us an answer….
As my colleague Brooke Salazar, JD, PHR, Apex HR consultant and Internal Associate General Counsel has stated, in many situations, a short-term disability policy that allows for the mother to take a partially paid leave may no longer be enough.
For example, according to the 2018 Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Employee Benefits Report, 83% of millennial new parents are willing to make a job change based on the richness of family benefits offered, as noted in Brooke’s previous blog, Paid Parental Leave: Did your succession plan just walk out the door?
As millennials continue to be in the largest group of parents in prime years of childbearing, she stated, they will continue to look for benefits that support the need for balance, wellbeing and taking care of loved ones. And Indiana’s employers should be ready for the demand.
Our entire Apex team looks forward to assisting organizations that are ready to explore the potential benefits and control the financial impact of paid parental leave.
For more information, contact HRconsulting@apexbg.com.
Article by: Todd Rokita, Apex General Counsel and Vice President of External Affairs
Todd serves Apex and its clients by leading public policy initiatives and overseeing corporate legal strategies. Before joining Apex, he served as one of Indiana’s U.S. Congressmen from 2011 to 2019, and as Indiana’s Secretary of State from 2003 to 2011. Todd served as a subcommittee chairman on the only committee in the U.S. House with jurisdiction over employee benefits, ERISA, and the U.S. Department of Labor. He practiced law before entering politics, representing the interests of Indiana businesses and individuals in state and federal courts. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org