https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-paid-leave-most-important-issue-you-should-think-today-weiss

Ann Crady Weiss
Ann Crady Weiss
Why paid leave is the most important issue you should think about today
May 9, 2016 • 2883 Likes • 131 Comments

Stop penalizing new parents. Stop making them feel guilty for not being back at work in a matter of weeks. Stop adding to the most stressful time in their lives by adding to their financial burden. I am a mom of 3 lovely children, and the founder and CEO of two businesses centered around supporting new parents. I’ve felt the pain of going back to work too soon. I’ve felt the stress on my new family because our country doesn’t support new parents. I’ve seen thousands of parents go through the same struggle. It’s time to make a change.

We now have many years of real data which says that paid leave is not only good for families, but also for businesses. Moms and dads and people who love them need to make this known and demand that government make a change to help all new parents. Please help spread the word.

It takes a village to support a child. It takes a nation to support their parents. The United States is the most economically powerful country on the planet. We are a model of freedom and innovation for the world. And yet, the U.S. is the only advanced economy in the world that doesn’t have a system to provide paid parental leave for its workers.

There is nothing more joyful, life altering, or stressful than the birth of a new child. New parents desperately need time to recover, bond with children, and sleep before they are forced to return to work or, if they are lucky enough to have a choice, quit their job to care for their baby. Forcing an early decision, for women especially, will have serious implications for their lifelong earning potential. Paid leave is not only the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.

Here’s why: studies overwhelmingly show the economic and societal benefits of paid leave. With paid leave, more people take time off, particularly low-income parents who might have dropped out of the work force after the birth of a child. Instead, paid leave raises the likelihood that mothers will return to employment, and will work 15 to 20 percent more hours on average, and earn 5 percent higher wages.

But under current federal law, less than half of U.S. workers who have a baby are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and a mere 11 percent of American workers have access to paid leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The result is that the percentage of women in the U.S. labor force lags behind countries with more supportive leave policies — studies show a direct correlation. This is a serious problem if we want to remain competitive on a global scale.

We now have years of actual data about the effect paid leave programs have on businesses and families and the news is good. California passed the nation’s first-ever comprehensive paid family leave program in 2002. Businesses protested, fearing it would burden employers. But less than a decade later, a 2011 study found nearly 90% of businesses said paid family leave had a neutral or positive effect on productivity, profitability, turnover and morale. Nearly 87% say it did not increase costs. Nearly 9% said the program generated cost savings by reducing employee turnover.

Increasingly, companies like Facebook, Google, Netflix, Nestle and Ernst & Young are choosing to provide generous paid leave to new parents. They know it’s not only good for their employees’ lives, but it’s also good for their bottom line.

Most of these companies offer paid leave to both new moms and dads. This is important both because it recognizes the reality of modern parenthood – both mom and dad are intimately involved — and also because it normalizes gender in the workplace. If both mothers and fathers are entitled to and take paid leave, any career or company disruption will become like any other workplace issue, rather than one that only affects women’s careers.

The overwhelming majority of new parents still do not have paid leave. A tiny fraction of the workforce become parents each year (less than 3.5%). The government has a responsibility to step in to help the many support the few during this critical period of a new family’s life. We can change the system and support all companies, including small and low-wage worker businesses, to make paid leave our country’s standard of care.

What can you do: Please do three things: (1) like this page, (2) use social media to spread the word #paidleave (What choices were you forced to make to balance career and family?), (3) support people who are working on this issue. See a (growing!) list here of companies, journalists, and legislators who are supporting and/or educating about this important issue. Please feel free to add to the list. Our families and economy depend on getting this issue right.

Ann Crady Weiss is the co-founder and CEO of smart parenting device firm Hatch Baby.
Written by
Ann Crady Weiss
Ann Crady Weiss
Like

    Share on LinkedIn
    Share on Facebook
    Share on Twitter

2,883 likes
131 comments
Add your comment

    Rik Roberts
    Rik Roberts
    Senior Chemist at ProQuality Lab
    “Maybe this would work for medium to large size companies, but small companies, like mine, cannot weather the loss of key employees for extended periods of time. Also, as someone that is 20 years removed from having newborns in my home, I can tell you that there are other life events that are more stressful than a newborn. Employees that are having to care for elderly or dying parents, going through divorce, enduring their own health crises are under significantly more stress, IMHO. Employers should be understanding and accommodating to employees that have such short term personal situations, but there is a very real and measurable limit to what can be done.”
        Like(5)Reply(13)2 days ago
    LikersSahana Reddy, Natasha Tkach, Lucinda Bezuidenhout, +2
        Kelly Pettis
        Kelly Pettis
        Revved up and forward focused purchasing manager; driving innovation through diversity and collaboration. #lovewhatyoudo
        “Rik, I am not understanding your stance on this topic. When you hire someone – they are a budgeted head count. It doesn’t even make sense not to pay them for maternity leave because if they weren’t having a baby – you would be paying them anyway. It isn’t even an extra cost to the company to offer paid leave benefits.”
            Like22 hours ago
        Rik Roberts
        Rik Roberts
        Senior Chemist at ProQuality Lab
        “There are more costs to having an employee out than simply paying them for not working. There is the cost of paying someone else to do their work, the cost of training someone to do that work, and the lost opportunity cost of turning down work because they aren’t there to do it.

        And playing the you-can’t-understand-unless-you-push-a-child-out-of-your-body card is kind of silly. I don’t have to have cancer to be empathetic to the toll it takes on a person and their family. I was also there for the pregnancies, births and raising of my three kids and fully bore witness to the toll it had on their mother and myself. Gain a little bit more life experience and you will realize that it’s not the stressful time you think it is.”
            Like(1)1 day ago
        LikersDanielle Lohan
        Show More
    Mike Geraci
    Mike Geraci
    Vice President of Operations at JEG & Sons | Six Sigma Black Belt Certified
    “Well Ann, as CEO and founder of your own company you can afford to do whatever you want.  The rest of society is not so lucky.  It does not take a village to raise a child, it takes parents who care about their childrent and who are devoted to them.  I am raising two children and I don’t expect anyone other than my wife and I to do it.  It takes a nation to support parents?  Why?  You should support yourself.

    Those companies you listed with the exception of perhaps Nestle have the luxury to allow their employees an extended leave because they are large.  For smaller companies that is not an option.  Also, not every job allows you to work remotely.  Having a child changes your life.  How you spend your time is one of the things that changes.  You should consider that before having one.”
        Like(5)Reply(5)2 days ago
    LikersAngela Miller, PMP, Tanya Nguyen, Shelly Hart, +2
        Kelly Pettis
        Kelly Pettis
        Revved up and forward focused purchasing manager; driving innovation through diversity and collaboration. #lovewhatyoudo
        “I was 20 when I had my child and I barely made above the minimum wage ($8.25/hour back in 1995 – young and working in the travel industry – they paid in benefits like travel – not cash). When my daughter was born I was only allowed to take 6 weeks off unpaid from my employer. Would them paying me the $1980 for those 6 weeks would have put that company under? No, but it did make it hard for me to pay my bills, buy groceries and the necessities for the baby. I remember what a struggle it was back then being a new mom with no income for 6 weeks. The company has the head count and your salary accounted for – why couldn’t they pay for 6 weeks?”
            Like22 hours ago
        Shelly Hart
        Shelly Hart
        Patent Paralegal
        “Tamara Hammond No for me it wasn’t! My decision to have a child was not a national matter (and I’m pretty sure no one voted on it 🙂 It was a personal decision, a personal matter and quite frankly, no one else’s business! I got this, ok, I’m a great mom and I never needed or expected anyone to accommodate my decision.”
            Like(3)1 day ago
        LikersShelly Hart, Donald Kuntze, and Jason G. Ramage, MS, MBA, PMP
        Show More
    Show More

Advertisements