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4 Things Small Companies Can Do to Deliver Paid Leave to Their Employees

The United States notoriously lags behind the rest of the world with regard to its paid parental leave policies. Currently the U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world without any kind of national paid maternity leave policy, and one of six of the 38 member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that don’t offer paid parental leave.

The responsibility in the United States falls on private businesses, then, to determine whether they will provide paid leave to their employees, and in what amounts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in March 2021, 23 percent of civilian workers had access to paid family leave and 89 percent had access to unpaid family leave. Amongst state and local government workers, 26 percent had access to paid family leave and 94 had access to unpaid family leave.

This means companies that are able to provide paid leave to their employees have a big advantage in attracting quality employees. The COVID-19 pandemic put some significant strain on young families, and people are now looking for jobs that offer benefits like remote work, flexibility, paid leave and other such benefits that make life easier for these families.

Indeed, one study by Deloitte found 77 percent of employees said whether a firm offered paid financial leave and the length of that leave would influence their decisions of where to apply and work.

Small businesses and paid leave

Large corporations like Google have made headlines for their implementation of paid leave policies. But small businesses, often without the same cashflow and reserves as these large companies, may have concerns about their ability to pay their employees while on leave.

There is no denying that small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to paid leave, which in turn puts them at a disadvantage in attracting quality talent. Here are a few strategies owners of small businesses can implement to work through this issue.

  • Prioritize communication with employees: Small business managers need to communicate with and listen to employees about their needs and desires. Taking action on that feedback is important, because it shows your employees you care about their needs.
  • Give leave to both men and women: If you’re going to pay parental leave, make sure you make it available to all parents. This is crucial for attracting diverse talent and keeping all employees happy.
  • Consider the costs and benefits: A cost-benefit analysis can show exactly how crucial having a paid parental leave policy can be. If a significant portion of new parents will quit their jobs rather than take unpaid leave, then it is of benefit to your business to offer paid leave policies and make that investment in your workers.
  • Be consistent: Make sure you provide the same benefit to all new recruits and all of your current employees. Spell out the policy in an employee handbook so everyone knows what to expect.

For assistance in developing a paid family leave policy that will be appreciated by your employees, contact Holden Law Firm, PLLC

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