Why Your Maternity Leave Policy Matters

HR professionals know that the extra perks an organization offers its employees can affect their ability to recruit the best talent. One of the perks that have become a focus of late is the levels of paid parental leave that companies offer. 

Leading companies such as the Gates Foundation and Netflix now provide 52 weeks of paid parental leave, while others such as Amazon, Microsoft, Dropbox, Google, and Adobe are at over 20 weeks. Even Walmart, infamous for its poor treatment of female employees, now offers ten weeks of paid leave for birth moms. When you consider the federal maternity leave policy, parents-to-be are seeking support for their new families. So, why does your maternity leave policy matter? Read on.

Recruitment Expenditure

The effort required to replace every mother or parent that has a new baby is quite an expenditure. Therefore, there is a significant monetary benefit to having a good maternity policy for your staff. 

Replacing employees is time-consuming, and the more defined and specialized the role, the more difficult it becomes to fill. If you have an employee that is looking forward to returning to work but wants a reasonable amount of time to manage her new baby, offering an extended paid leave will ensure she comes back. 

On the flip side, when you are in the recruiting process, people of a certain age or at a certain point in their life will consider your maternity leave policy when seeking employment. This is one of the benefits they will consider when comparing you to other potential employers. A strong maternity leave policy will make your company more attractive to the younger generations. 

Workplace Diversity

Many companies worry about losing their female workers to motherhood. And a strong maternity policy allows companies to maintain a more diverse workforce. When you restrict your employees, you also restrict the progress of your company as a whole. Forward-thinking companies are improving their promotion of gender diversity, ensuring women have the same opportunities for advancement as their male counterparts. 

Paid leave for both parents also allows men to take time off, which in turn means more moms are able to return to work sooner. This helps keep women’s careers on track for raises and promotions that they might otherwise miss.

If you just offer paid leave to women, there’s a risk of gender discrimination. This makes it appear that you are willing to let women leave their roles, but men are too important to be allowed time off to parent. 

Adding to the male parent leave conundrum, several companies have been sued for offering less leave time to men than women, including CNN, JP Morgan Chase, and Estee Lauder. These lawsuits increased by 590% between 1998 and 2012, according to the Center for WorkLife Law. 

Positive Company Image

The digital era has made it possible for the public to learn far more about organizations than they might care to imagine. When you offer improved maternity leave policies, it can improve your image as a company that cares about its employees. This can not only help with employee recruitment but also draw attention to your brand for new customers. 

This type of policy shows you support gender equality, which again, can help you attract a higher level of talent. Women also have access to websites that provide insight into parental leave policies, which can influence the type of companies they consider as employers. 

Employee Retention

Really, this should be reason enough to improve your maternity leave policy. Happy employees perform better, and retention will be easier. 

For those who have yet to marry or have kids, knowing that a policy is in place to protect their jobs and make it easier to transition into parenthood will feel less pressured. Those who have parenthood in their near futures will stay focused on their job and not feel tempted to look for a new position with a company that offers a better policy. Considering that the maternity leave policy in the U.S. is based on the state when it comes to pay, most people considering a family do have this concern on their mind. 

When Accenture doubled its paid maternity leave, they saw close to a 40% reduction in the number of moms leaving their jobs following the arrival of a new child. It’s just good policy.

If you consider that a good maternity package could be the defining factor of whether you keep a good employee on board or not, it makes good sense to look for ways to improve loyalty. It’s hard enough attracting talent, without worrying about losing them to parenthood. You can develop a happier workforce with flexible working opportunities that supports family life while attracting a deeper pool of talent. 

About The Author

Kayla is the Marketing Manager at Paypro Corporation overseeing all inbound and outbound marketing and sales efforts. She has 7+ years of experience working within the B2B and SaaS based solutions space and thrives on creating messaging and campaigns that introduce products and services to those who need them most.

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