Leave Management, Policy, and Compliance

New Survey Finds Only 32% of Employers Offer Paid Family Leave

Does your company offer paid leave for the birth or adoption of an employee’s child? If so, you’re among the 32% of employers who say they offer this benefit, according to a new survey released by Standard Insurance Company (The Standard)—in conjunction with the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC).  family

Of the 320 employers surveyed, 32% currently offer paid family leave (PFL) programs, 64% of which include bonding time with a new child. Of the employers that offer PFL programs, 57% provide more than 3 weeks of paid leave. Of the participants who do not have PFL programs, 34% do offer some form of paid parental leave benefits.

“The United States is one of three industrialized countries without a national paid maternal leave program. To accommodate for this gap, many employers provide a patchwork of benefits such as short-term disability and paid time off, but these benefits often fail to meet broader family caregiving needs such as helping to care for children or aging loved ones,” said Terri Rhodes, Chief Executive Officer at DMEC—in a press release. “Providing PFL benefits will continue to be an important aspect for employers, both from attracting new talent to retaining existing employees, as many employees are part of the sandwich generation where they are caring for their own children, aging parents, or both.”

While more than one-third of employers surveyed do have PFL benefits in place, for many survey respondents, incorporating a PFL program into their own workforce may take some time. Eighteen percent of surveyed employers anticipate including PFL programs in their benefits coverage this year, while 33% hope to offer it in 2018. Forty-one percent predict adding the benefits to their coverage portfolio could take 3 to 5 years.

“Employers from a variety of industries are starting to proactively offer PFL programs to meet the increasing needs of their employees, including caregiving coverage for children and loved ones,” said Breanna Scott, director of product and service development at The Standard. “Not only can offering PFL benefits help increase employee retention and recruitment efforts, but it also can translate into better employee engagement and overall productivity for an organization.”

As more employers begin adding PFL benefits into their programs, there are also numerous pieces of proposed legislation at the state and federal levels that could expedite PFL implementation. Currently, three states have in-force legislation, two states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation that has yet to take effect, and 16 states have proposed legislation in their state legislatures.

“The current ad-hoc approach from states is likely to generate compliance issues for employers, as provisions differ from state to state,” said Scott. “It will become increasingly important for employers to be aware of state and local regulations, especially if they have implemented their own programs.”

For employers weighing the addition of PFL benefits in their own organization, Scott recommends analyzing the following considerations:

  • Is PFL novel or competitive within your industry?
  • Do you have any employees based out of state where PFL is statutorily required?
  • What are the demographics and needs of your workforce?
  • Would a program like this complement your company culture or offerings?

To learn more about this survey, click here.

AEISStay up-to-date on all the latest leave trends when you join Stacie Caraway of Miller & Martin PLLC and Susan Fentin of Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. as they copresent the breakout session—“ Absence Management in the Compliance ‘Bermuda Triangle’: FMLA’s Intersection with Disability Accommodation, Workers’ Compensation, and Paid Time Off”—at the 22nd Annual Advanced Employment Issues Symposium (AEIS), being held at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, November 15-17. Click here to learn more, or to register today.