Having children is a momentous occasion for anyone and often means big changes in one’s personal life. But for those of us in the working world, our personal lives are often inexorably intertwined with our work lives.
That’s why the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles both men and women to take up to 12 workweeks of job-protected, unpaid leave for the birth or placement of a son or daughter.
Beyond FMLA Requirements
But the FMLA requirements are just a baseline; they don’t, necessarily, represent the ideal situation for many new parents. After all, 12 weeks is slightly less than 4 months. And, while 4 months isn’t a huge amount of time to spend with a newborn, it’s certainly a lot of time to go without a paycheck.
Recognizing this, and in an effort to attract and retain top employee talent, many companies go above and beyond the federal requirements for parental leave under the FMLA and offer longer periods of maternity and paternity leave and/or paid leave.
However, this is far from the norm. Only 35% of U.S. companies offer paid parental leave, and 84% of U.S. workers don’t have access to paid family leave according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Lululemon Makes a Statement
Considering those statistics; sports apparel company Lululemon is making a statement with its recent decision on family leave. In an article for Bloomberg, Jordyn Holman writes, “Lululemon Athletica Inc. is beefing up benefits to attract and retain workers, offering full-time employees three to six months of paid parental leave.”
Holman adds, “the gender-neutral benefit awards three months of paid leave to full-time workers who have been at the yoga wear company for two years. Employees with five or more years at the firm qualify for six paid months off.”
Parental leave is another example of the many perks that companies across the country and really around the world are using to entice employees to join or remain with their organizations. And parental leave is obviously particularly attractive to family-oriented employees.
If the labor market continues to favor applicants, as we’ve seen recently, expect to see more lucrative benefits being offered to employees.