The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that requires companies to offer up to 12 weeks leave, unpaid, for families that have had a baby and most of the time after adoption as well. Not many families can go unpaid for three months, that’s not necessarily a feasible option for them, throw in the ridiculously high cost of childcare and that creates yet another strain for your employees.
Studies conducted by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) have shown 18% of employers within the US offer paid maternity leave and 12% offer paid paternity leave. To put it into perspective, Amazon offers 20 weeks paid leave for either parent, Adobe offers 26 weeks for new birth moms, and Spotify takes it even further offering up to 24 weeks, full pay for either parent through birth, adoption or even surrogacy.
Now offering 12 weeks paid leave may be a little lofty for any smaller company, however, there are compromises that could be utilized, consider offering six or eight weeks paid, you could stipulate that the leave must be used within a certain timeframe after the child is born, the parameters are up to you. You could also offer ½ pay or ¾ pay rather than full pay. Do some research and ask around, start with a program that you can afford to implement and go from there. Don’t forget, there are many diverse types of families within your company, be sure to be inclusive to them all.
In the end, to attract young employees in a competitive market, paid leave after a baby birth or adoption is a huge incentive. This effort will boost employee retention and morale and promote diversity and inclusivity within your company. The cost may appear great (having to cover the position with a temp or perceived loss of productivity when employee is out) but take into consideration loss of talent and/or not attracting the top talent you desire; that price tag is heftier than covering leave for your employees. Happy parents (low stress parents) make happy employees; a mantra we can all live by.