Welcoming a new child into a home often requires parents to make difficult decisions related to balancing their careers and home life. Many families need time to familiarize themselves with the new lifestyle change before returning to a career. Paid parental leave benefits the family, but companies are recognizing that the implementation of family-friendly policies have an impact on employee recruitment, retention and morale.
Unfortunately, Indiana and the U.S. are lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to family-friendly policies for employees, however, progress is being made. For example, according to a 2018 SHRM Employee Benefits Report, 35 percent of U.S. companies offered paid maternity leave, up from 12 percent in 2014. In addition, about 30 percent of companies offered paid paternity and adoption leave.
From promoting breastfeeding to a lower risk of postpartum depression (PPD), paid parental leave has shown positive implications for parents and children. For instance, breastfeeding has been tied to many benefits for babies, including lowering the risk of respiratory illnesses, allergies and infections. And without paid leave, women are less likely to have the time off needed to begin breastfeeding, according to a 2016 study published in Birth Issues in Prenatal Care. About half of parents who qualify for unpaid leave, don’t take it because they would be financially unstable (Center for American Progress).
In addition to the child’s health, family-friendly policies keep parents healthy too. Many women struggle from PPD after birth. A study published in the Journal of Health, Politics, Policy and Law found that when women return to work prior to six months of giving birth, they are at greater risk to suffer from depression. Fathers can also struggle with depression and anxiety after becoming a new parent. Paid parental leave can allow time for families to become confident in new routines while feeling financially secure.
One of the common arguments against paid leave is it has a negative impact on business, however, some states have enacted paid leave laws that have been proving otherwise for companies.
Take California for example, after enacting paid parental leave laws, a study completed on California businesses by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that 89 percent of companies found positive or no affects on productivity, turnover and morale.
Organizations are recognizing that employees value a work-life balance. To attract and retain talent, companies must be competitive in family-friendly policies. Companies likely spend less resources (time and money) on paid leave than they would to train another employee to do the same job.
Despite these known benefits, in Indiana, less than 30% of employers offer some form of paid parental leave compared to 52% of the U.S., according to the 2019 Apex Benefits Indiana Employee Benefits Benchmarking Survey Report. Furthermore, the U.S can look to policies of foreign companies, like many in Europe that offer mothers up to 12 months of paid leave, to see how advanced some of the rest of the world is in providing health benefits that work for employees – and organizations.
By creating more family-friendly policies, Indiana employers can make a larger impact on employee livelihood and even possibly realize a competitive edge with attracting top talent.
Learn more about how Indiana employers compare on offering paid parental leave and other benefits at the 2019 Apex Benefits Indiana Employee Benchmarking Survey Reveal. Register here.