Employees want more and better leave benefits, and employers are eager to deliver.
They’re counting on better employee benefits to help recruit and retain top talent. Workers consider benefits more important than extra salary by a margin of 4-to-1, according to a survey by the American Institute of CPAs.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that only 17% of American employees had access to paid family leave through their employers in 2018, up from 15% the year before and 9% in 2008. About 89% of workers had access to unpaid family leave in 2018.
Companies also are springing into action because members of Congress and presidential candidates in both parties are calling for federal action to protect workers. Much of the debate focuses on proposals to overhaul the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which now only requires employers to provide employees only unpaid leave. The United States is the only industrialized nation still without government-required paid maternity leave.
Family leave by the numbers
- A recent survey released by consulting firm Mercer finds that 40% of employers are offering a paid parental leave policy this year, compared with 24% in 2015.
- 74% of Americans in the Cato Institute’s 2018 Paid Leave Survey said they support a federal requirement for employers to provide 12 weeks’ paid family leave. But support drops below 50% if taxes increased $450 a year or more to pay for it.
- About 75% of those surveyed by the Pew Research Center about employee benefits said they believe paid family leave should be available for both mothers and fathers.
- 45% told Pew they favor federal tax credits for employers that offer paid leave, and 39% support monthly pre-tax contributions into a personal account they could draw from when taking leave.
- 77% of employees said in that parental leave benefits could be the deciding factor in choosing their next employer, according to a 2016 Deloitte survey.
- A 2016 EY survey of 1,500 employers found that 82% believed offering paid family leave has a positive effect on morale, 71% said it helps cut turnover, 71% felt it boosts productivity and 63% considered it a plus for profitability.
A 2019 Unum survey uncovered problems with benefit communication at companies that offer paid leave. For example, 38% of new parents said they did not understand short-term disability insurance prior to having a child. Other findings include:
- 32% said they didn’t understand FMLA before having a child.
- 20% of moms said they had no involvement in the development of their leave plan.
- 49% of new moms and 36% of new dads said they didn’t even meet with their manager or anyone in Human Resources to develop a leave plan.
Importance of the leave experience
Ultimately, having the right leave benefits and right communication improves the employee experience, which leads to decreased turnover – and saving you money. Our goal is to provide employees with the resources they need, and train managers with soft skills and logistics to help customize and provide support to employees as they use these new benefits.
One lesson the experts at PartnerComm have learned through the years: Great benefits won’t help employees much if they don’t know about them, understand them or how to use them. Clear, consistent employee communication is vital.