Employment Agreement

What are the Current Trends in Parental Leave Benefits?

Sep 26, 2023

We’re returning to our Parental Leave mini-series with a review of parental leave policies across companies. Last week, we covered the legal baseline mandated by state and federal law. This week, let’s learn what standards are being set by companies across the 4 key aspects of Type, Duration, Eligibility, and Pay.

The majority of employers do not provide Paid Parental Leave

While the rest of this post will discuss parental leave specifics such as duration and eligibility, it’s important to acknowledge that most Americans do not get paid parental leave through their employer. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 1 in 4 Americans have access to employer-provided paid family leave in 2023. The lack of paid leave disproportionately affects low-income workers and industries such as construction and hospitality. A survey run by KFF in 2019 had a similar statistic that ~31% of workers are employed by a firm that offers paid parental leave. For these individuals, their parental leave policy is what’s prescribed by their state and federal law.

For Paid Parental Leave, 12 weeks is most common

For this analysis, we use theSkimm’s roundup of 500+ companies, which covers industries from Accounting to Wellness, public and private sectors, and company sizes (from 200+ to 100,000+). Let’s first review the paid leave distribution for the birthing and/or primary caregiver:

Note: N/S represents Not Specified, where the company was reported to provide thie benefit, but the details of the plan were not provided.

  1. 30% of companies provide 12 weeks

  2. 22% of companies provide 16 weeks

  3. 13% of companies provide fewer than 12 weeks

Next, let’s review the paid leave distribution for the non-birthing and/or secondary caregiver:

  1. 26% of companies provide 12 weeks

  2. 22% of companies do not provide this benefit

  3. 28% of companies provide fewer than 12 weeks

Finally, we review data on eligibility for parental leave using Parentaly’s Database of 270+ companies. While a smaller sample size, there is still broad coverage in size and sector:

  1. 53% of companies provide immediately eligibility upon employment

  2. 24% of companies require 12 months employment

The most common paid parental leave policy is 12 weeks fully paid regardless of caregiving status with immediate eligibility upon employment. Longer paid leaves tend to favor the birthing and/or primary caregiver. It’s worth mentioning that a small number of companies offered longer leaves at a lower pay rate (e.g. 75%) but most policies focused on weeks of full pay.

To put these numbers into perspective, the 2019 global average is 29 weeks of maternity leave and 16 weeks for paternity leave. It’s clear the US standards have a lot of room for improvement. It’s also clear that even within parental leave policies, everyone can increase their eligibility and inclusivity. We hope you’ve learned as much as we have in researching for this mini-series on parental leave benefits in the US, and we’ll be back next week discussing how to negotiate techniques.

For advocacy and beyond,
The Ask Ginkgo Team

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