One way to create Workplace Happiness: offer family leave programs!

family-2611748_960_720Family leave, childcare, flexibility — these aren’t frills. They’re basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses – they should be the bottom line.” – President Barack Obama.

Today’s organizations are fighting the war for talents. To get the talent, you need to think how to attract them, how to keep them in your organizations and how to keep them happy and engaged. People value different things on the different stages in their life, so there isn’t one silver bullet that you could use to create workplace happiness.

Today’s workforce values different things starting from work and life balance, flexible work, social responsibility activities, etc. So, therefore, you need to ask what your people want. Paid family leave is definitely one of the things that our people need when the new baby is born to their family. There are a lot of families that have loans and mortgages to pay so they can’t afford to take a year off from work with no income what so ever.

There are quite many countries today that offer parental leaves. For instance, new parents in Sweden are entitled to 480 days of leave at 80% of their normal pay. After maternity leave ends for the parent in Estonia (which is 140 days), parents get an additional 435 days off to share, with compensation calculated at the average of their earnings. And Finnish fathers are granted eight weeks of paid leave, while both parents can split the 23 weeks of leave split between pregnancy and child-rearing.

But there are of course still quite many countries that don’t offer any (paid) family leaves or where mothers are allowed to have only a few weeks off from work before and after the new baby is born. And definitely, this is the time and place they could use some help and support from their employers.

Of course, it has some costs involved, so what should you know before putting this topic on your table?

Boston Consulting Group reviewed the policies of more than 250 companies and interviewed 25 HR leaders at large organizations. Their finding: employers see a solid business case for offering paid family leave, including benefits such as improved talent retention and attraction and their own ability to manage the costs of the program through thoughtful policy design.

A growing body of research shows that offering paid parental leave isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s good for business. Paid leave programs increase worker’s retention and reduce turnover, which helps businesses avoid the cost of having to hire and train employees to replace those who leave to care for a new child.  For instance, when consulting company Accenture doubled its paid maternity leave, to 16 weeks then they saw a nearly 40% reduction in the number of moms leaving their jobs after the birth or adoption of a child.

One study on the economic impact of paid family leave in California found that the vast majority of businesses in the state saw no effect or a positive one. 87% say it has not increased costs, 9% say they saved money, because of decreased turnover or benefit payments.

I am really happy to see that there are so many countries and organizations that take care of their people. So let’s have a look at the organizations that offer the best family leave programs. For instance, Amazon offers up to 20 weeks of paid leave to new mothers and up to six weeks to new fathers. But in addition, they have two programs available to support new parents: „Leave Share“ and „Ramp Back“. “Leave Share” is a program that allows Amazon employees to share their paid leave with their partners if their partners’ companies don’t offer their own paid leave program. And “Ramp Back” helps new moms and primary caregivers ease back into the workplace. Over a period of eight weeks, new parents can work at a reduced schedule as they become re-accustomed to work. Another great example is Starbucks. Starbucks has adopted a new parental leave policy that offers any new parent up to 12 weeks paid leave at 100 percent of their annual salary. To be eligible, parents must work a minimum of 20 hours a week. And the third company that I’d like to mention here is Netflix that offers new parents unlimited paid leave for one year. The policy enables them to take off as much time as they want during the first 12 months following the birth or adoption of a child. They also have the choice to come back part-time, full-time or to “return and then go back out as needed.”

What is your experience with family leave? What is this that your company offers to new parents?


Sources used in this post:

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