Is Paid Parental Leave Right for Your Company

Maybe you know an employee who welcomed a baby recently and took
time off to care for the child. Chances are that person didn’t get paid while
he or she was out. Parental leave has been a hot topic in the media lately, but
only 18 percent of U.S. organizations offer paid maternity leave and even fewer
(12 percent) provide paid paternity leave, according to the Society for Human
Resource Management’s 2016 Employee Benefits research report. And
only seventeen percent of employers have a paid-parental-leave plan for either

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A competitive labor
market may prompt more organizations to adopt robust paid-parental-leave
policies in order to attract needed workers. How can you determine if it’s a
good investment? Start by answering these questions:

What talent has the highest strategic value in your
organization? It’s impossible to
give all employees the perks they want, so determine which people are most
vital to helping you meet your business objectives and focus your benefits
strategy on them. It may not be who you think. For example, maybe your customer
service representatives have a bigger impact on achieving your business goals
than your engineers.

What do employee groups value most? Find out what matters most to your target populations—top
workers and candidates you’re having trouble hiring, for example. Market
research can be informative, if you have the resources, but you should still
talk to your key people to find out what really drives their decisions to stay
or leave. Also consider whether workers value being able to choose from among several
perks rather than receiving any one specific benefit.

What are your competitors offering? You can discern this by combining industry benchmarking data
with information from departing employees and candidates who turn down job
offers in favor of competitors.

What is your company’s talent strategy and culture? Unless you work for Google, your organization probably doesn’t
have the resources to dominate the competition in every benefit category.
Determine where you want to lead, where you want to meet the market and where
you can afford to fall behind a little. If your strategy depends heavily on
recent college graduates who are most concerned about student loans, it may be
best to lead on tuition repayment perks and meet the market (or even lag) on
paid leave.

What’s the business case, and how much will it cost? Paid parental leave is an expensive proposition. But turnover of
key talent may be even more costly. In the end, the investment in paid parental
leave may make sense—especially if it encourages talented people to come back
to work after the birth of a child. Google experienced a decrease in attrition
when it increased its paid maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks.

For busy HR
professionals, it can be tempting to maintain the same benefits year after year
or to think employees’ preferences don’t change. Instead, challenge yourself to
evaluate the return the organization is getting on benefits. If you’re
considering offering paid parental leave, take a broader, tactical look at your
rewards strategy to make sure it targets your top talent. Can you afford to
lose that bright young person to a competitor that provides paid parental
leave? Your parental-leave policy might just convince her to stay on board.

It may benefit you to partner with a team of experts to help you
create company policies. Sometimes it is hard to know what’s best for your
business on your own. Converge HR Solutions specializes in all things HR.
Recruiting talent, creating policies, onboarding employees, and more; reach out
today to discover the possibilities of a partnership with us. To browse our services, visit Contact us directly at or 610-296-8550.

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