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Why We Should Care About Parental Leave

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The past few weeks have unfortunately been tough for women’s rights in the U.S. As a nation, we aren’t supportive of families either. The U.S. is the only wealthy nation without a national parental leave program. However, there are consequences of our lack of leave policies and biases against parents in the workplace. Today, we share some highlights of how parental leave policies can benefit everyone.

How Parental Leave Impacts Companies

While providing paid leave for new parents may seem expensive to business leaders, the benefits outweigh the costs. While the ideal situation would include a national policy like many countries already have, businesses can benefit even if they have to foot the entire bill. Employees are less likely to leave organizations with parental leave policies and are more committed to their jobs. Employees want to feel supported by their leaders and will feel more loyal to those that show that support in providing leave and family support. Also, companies with these policies actually see positive impacts on productivity and employee satisfaction.

And, of course, employers that actually care about employees will see benefits in terms of their employees’ well-being.

Parental leave needs to apply to all employees with new children, regardless of their gender or how the child came into the family.

How Leave Impacts Families

The benefits for the employees and their families is probably fairly obvious. Plus, there’s a lot of research to back it up. Paid parental leave helps mothers recover from the birth. Mothers, or primary caregivers, also see improved physical health and mental health compared to mothers without access to leave. Fathers, or secondary caregivers, also benefit with a stronger bond with their children plus better relationships with their partners. And, children benefit! Babies with parents that take paid leave have better physical health and brain development.

It shouldn’t be up to individual parents to find the time and resources for a leave. We strongly believe it needs to happen at a national level but companies can do their part in the meantime. We encourage employers to do what they can to support their employees and the families they wish to have. Company policies should be inclusive of all types of families. Trust the research – the company will ultimately benefit from providing this benefit!

While parental leave is still a challenge for many, one thing we can control is the transition into parenthood. Check out some resources on how to lead for parental leave transitions and how to handle it yourself. And, keep an eye out for our podcast episode this week to learn more!

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