Much has been written about how generous paid parental leave will soon become a standard benefit at most companies. But how many firms are really offering it and how generous is the perk?
That’s the question WorldatWork attempted to answer in a comprehensive and first of-its-kind study — titled the Survey of Paid Parental Leave in the United States.
We say first-of-its-kind because the study narrowly defines paid parental leave as a separate entity from other paid leave programs and purposely omits other leave programs such as short-term disability, paid sick time, government-funded disability or insurance payments as well as any programs that supplement partial pay.
Commenting on the need for such a specific study, WorldatWork senior practice leader Lenny Sanicola said:
“Paid parental leave is an emerging benefit. There are numerous splashy headline in the news about paid leave, but these headlines can be misleading. This survey uses a strict definition so that we can really dig into what is being offered as true paid parental leave that goes above and beyond existing paid leave programs.”
More than a third of all employers
So what exactly did WorldatWork discover?
Overall, more than a third (38%) of employers offer a defined paid parental leave benefit for new-parent employees to recover from the birth of a child and/or to care for or bond with a new child.
For those employers, that leave is separate from all other paid leave and employees don’t need to use or exhaust other paid time off or earning to take advantage of the benefit.
When it comes to the amount of paid parental leave offered by employers, the average eligible full-time new-parent gets 4.1 weeks.
Of the 38% of employers that currently offer paid parental leave benefits, the study also found:
- 80% offer employees their full/normal pay during the leave
- 78% offer paid parental leave to all employees (22% offer it to only some workers)
- 58% give the same amount of paid parental leave to all new-parent employees, and
- 85% don’t distinguish the amount of paid parental leave between primary or secondary caregivers.
Many of these organizations were also subject to laws that mandate paid leave but tend to go above what’s required by law. Specifically:
- 64% are subject to at least one state/local paid parental leave requirement, and
- 88% offer more or expanded paid parental leave than what’s required by law (longer duration, larger percentage of normal pay rate, broader set of new-parent circumstances, etc.).