It can be easy to get caught up in climbing the career latter. Depending upon where your employees are in life, their main focus may have been education and career for a long time. Parental leave may have been the last thing on their mind.
Getting caught up in a career you love isn’t a bad thing, but employees shouldn't forget the importance of working to live and not just living to work.
Once an employee decides to start a family, chances are their priorities have already begun to shift. Finding the time to raise a healthy happy family while juggling their job can seem next to impossible.
Especially in the United States.
Laws in the United States vs Europe
You might be shocked to learn that other countries guarantee that new families have plenty of time to adjust to their new roles. In fact, some countries have minimum maternity leave laws.
A jaw-dropping example of “generous” maternity leave is Bulgaria’s paid maternity leave—nearly 60 months!
The United States, on the other hand, doesn’t guarantee any length of time for leave. So when US companies start offering six months of paid maternity leave to their employees, their employee loyalty jumps—and they become more attractive to potential employees.
The Importance of Parental Leave
Bringing children into one's life can be an emotionally and physically exhausting process. And when the baby finally arrives, the nurturing and acclimating begins.
It's important for new parents to be able to focus on their new family without fear of losing their job, or the guilt of returning to work too soon.
Benefits of Generous Parental Leave for Families
Who doesn’t love time off?
But we aren’t talking about a vacation, we are talking about raising a family. Having a generous parental leave policy can do a family wonders:
1. Parent-Child Bonding
Being able to spend the time needed to bond with new babies is an invaluable benefit of maternity or paternity leave. It also decreases the chances of a new mother getting post-partum depression.
New parents can focus on their families rather than having to get back to work right away. Furthermore, new mothers can recover from the delivery in comfort.
2. Reduces Infant Mortality
Multiple studies have shown that the more paid parental leave, the less infant mortality. This may be due to time spent nurturing the child or even the ability to breastfeed a newborn for longer.
3. Increases Breastfeeding
Mothers that have more time off work, have more time to breastfeed their children for longer. In turn, babies may have better immune systems and fewer illnesses.
4. Reduces Childcare Costs
Childcare is an expensive resource for families, and for many, it's the only option. Allowing new parents to spend more time at home with young children will mean they have more money to spend on other things...and help boost the economy.
Benefits of Generous Parental Leave for Employers
It’s not hard to see how parents and children can benefit from paid parental leave, but the benefits to the employer are often overlooked.
Check out how your company can benefit from allowing parents to spend more time with their babies:
1. Parental Leave Improves Employee Productivity
Believe it or not, paid leave creates a more productive company...all around. Even though parents are not at work when they're on leave, when it’s time to return they are ready to hit the ground running.
2. Increases Employee Retention
Not only are employees appreciative of the paid leave, but they are also less likely to quit further down the road. Employee happiness makes all the difference.
3. Healthier Employees
Parents have a lot on their plates, especially new parents. Adjusting to parenthood, sleepless nights, and new routines are easier said than done.
If parents can adjust at their own pace, rather than juggling work soon after baby arrives, they'll be less stressed, and ultimately healthier.
4. Attracts Talent
The best and the brightest are also the most difficult employee to recruit. Offering a generous parental leave policy can be just what a new recruit needs to commit their talents to your company.
So, in reality, a longer paid leave is a win-win for both parents and employers. So why doesn’t the United States adopt the same laws and policies that other countries have?
What do you think the United States should do to improve parental leave policies?