To make strategic business decisions, leaders must adopt internal policies that support their workforce. At the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit, we were joined by leaders at Nestle USA, Fatherly, and JUST Capital to discuss the importance of measuring the outcomes of family support policies, and to launch our ROI framework to further the understanding of paid leave outcomes. View our full conversation below.
Learnings will inform Panorama’s work toward a data-driven business case for paid leave
SEATTLE, September 25, 2018 - Today Panorama, an action tank working alongside partners to drive action on major social issues, released “Understanding the Business Impacts of Paid Leave,” an employee resource modeling the potential costs and benefits of offering paid family and medical leave (PFML). It outlines the publicly available data around the investments and returns of employer-driven paid leave programs and will inform a PFML working group, Working Family Business Alliance, led by Panorama and Nestlé USA, launching at the 2018 Concordia Summit.
For U.S. businesses, cost of implementation is the leading barrier to paid leave adoption. Business leaders lack the data to understand the range of costs required to implement paid leave, or how a policy could impact the company’s bottom line. Additionally, while PFML undergoes rigorous analysis prior to adoption, employers rarely evaluate the business returns after implementation.
“In the absence of broad local or national policy it is U.S. businesses that play the most critical role in providing for the needs of workers,” said Kimble Snyder, director of workforce initiatives at Panorama. “They are doing this without an accurate picture of what benefits like PFML mean to both workers, and their bottom line. To increase access to paid leave, we have to change that.
In addition to a summary of available data, Panorama’s resource includes a framework illustrating the complex system of elements that lead companies from the starting point of making an investment into a PFML program, to returns and, perhaps most importantly, to the levers that help guide employers to intended outcomes. To put these learnings into action, it will serve as the baseline for the Working Family Business Alliance.
The resource and framework also supports the Paid Leave Pledge, which launched in June 2018 and calls on companies to make a commitment to publicly share data on the impact of their PFML programs. Throughout a yearlong cycle, this consortium of businesses – which includes Nestlé USA, SAP, Union Square Hospitality Group, Burton Snowboards, Limeade, TCG, and Busboys and Poets – will share strategies and best practices, leading to the release of data impacts in summer of 2019. Concurrently, businesses that wish to participate but cannot commit to publicly sharing data, can join an anonymous data-sharing cohort.
Panorama’s work around tracking the return on investment of paid leave is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. To access resources for businesses, learn how to participate in the paid leave conversation, and join future events visit us at www.uspaidleave.org
# # #
Panorama is an action tank working to solve global problems through audacious thinking and bold action. We bring together diverse perspectives to spark new ideas that create change on issues affecting people, the planet and productivity. Based in Seattle, Panorama is a team of strategists, advocates, campaigners, analysts, storytellers, resource mobilizers and organizational designers with deep experience in foundations, non-governmental organizations, private companies and public institutions.
Sunday, Sept. 16 is National Working Parents Day - a day to celebrate those who balance both providing for, and raising the next generation.
Panorama has been working toward business-led solutions for working families over the past two years. Our efforts are founded in the belief that when each person has an opportunity to make an equal contribution – regardless of gender, race, or economic standing – we all live more productive lives. There are many ways that U.S. companies have been able to create innovative solutions to help bridge the gap. Here’s our top five list for this Working Parents Day:
Flextime: Flex-time offers workers the ability to create periods of work without interruption while being able to take care of non-work commitments. BambooHR offers what they call an ‘anti-workaholic’ policy for their team along these lines. They note that the policy allows for those precious moments that don’t come around often – like a ballet recital, as well as accommodating demanding and shifting schedules.
Paid Family and Medical Leave: Over the past few years, there has been a heavy increase in companies adopting and expanding paid leave policies. Across a variety of industry and for a number of reason, these businesses see that they can better attract talent, curb attrition rates, and increase engagement. Spotify has a leading policy, offering six months of paid leave plus one month for flex schedule as parents return to the office.
Childcare: Childcare today can cost more than instate tuition in many places, and access and quality are challenging as well. As companies respond to the needs of their workers, some have taken the charge even beyond backup-care, on-site facilities, and subsidies. We are now seeing ‘infants at work’ policies – these allow employees to bring their newborns to work, and have been implemented by around 200 organizations. Among them, Badger Balm who offers parents the opportunity to bring infants into work up to the age of six months or until they can crawl, whichever comes first.
Lactation Support: Beyond making space for and ensuring a culture where nursing moms feel supported, like we do at Panorama, companies are working hard to find new ways to support the specific challenges that face new moms. Zillow has stepped up their lactation support to include covering the costs of shipping breast milk, for those moms who have to travel.
Concierge Services: Looking to recruit some new talent into your office? Companies are considering concierge services as one way to ensure employees have support when managing the pull of work life balance. Ad agency BVK has found that by offering a concierge service to their employees, the lives of their employees are simplified, and therefore allows for more engaged and productive employees.
We hope you’ll join us in saying thank you to the many working parents who have taken on a variety of competing priorities to raise the next generation –with that in mind, make this day an important occasion by highlighting the workplace supports you offer.
In early September, Panorama and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) came together to co-host a webinar for U.S. business leaders on, Understanding the Business Impacts of Paid Family and Medical Leave.
It’s no secret that one of the biggest upfront barriers to the broad voluntary adoption of paid family and medical leave (PFML) is cost. And, while the benefits of PFML are often cited in relation to improving the health and financial security of workers, its impact on the bottom lines of businesses is often overlooked.
By joining forces, Panorama and ASBC challenged business leaders to think about how to put numbers alongside the belief that ‘doing good’ means seeing positive business outcomes. In addition to John Minor from ASBC and Kimble from Panorama, Emily Hall Warren, Director of Administration for Badger, joined as a guest speaker to discuss how her company has been working to offer paid leave and other family-friendly employee benefits to their workforce.
The conversation offered a preview of a new report from Panorama (to be released Sept. 18, 2018) focused on understanding the business impact of PFML. Based on publicly available data outlining investments and returns, Panorama created a report, and framework, to help companies understand the impact of their PFML policies. Warren and Minor where able to shed light on the importance of company leadership in workforce initiatives, idea policy offerings and gender equity, and how outcomes vary by business size, especially across small businesses.
Listen to the full webinar here. Due to technical glitches in the original recording, portions of this webinar have been re-recorded for audio clarity.
Still have questions?
Our presenters are happy to continue the lively discussion on paid leave and how to better understand the returns of offering comprehensive workplace supports. If you have questions or would like learn more, please reach out:
John Minor, Policy Manager at ASBC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kimble Snyder, Director at Panorama (email@example.com)
Interested in becoming engaged?
Panorama and ABSC both have ongoing initiatives that encourage businesses to be more involved in the paid leave conversation:
Panorama’s Paid Leave Pledge invites businesses to commit to track and publicly share data on the business impacts of implementing paid family and medical leave policies. Join Nestle, SAP, and other high-road employers in improving the evidence base around the return on investment of paid leave programs.
Panorama’s Anonymous Data Sharing coordinates companies to share data for an anonymous, aggregate level benchmarking analysis that will look at how returns from paid leave policies vary by business size, workforce makeup, industry, policy structure, and more.
ASBC’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Campaign focuses on a goal to pass a Federal paid leave law that is comprehensive, responsible, and inclusive. Current Federal law is not meeting the needs of modern businesses and employees, so ASBC is advocating for a new law to respond to today’s market.
To further explore the motivations and challenges companies face in implementing and tracking paid family and medical leave, we’re kicking off a series of interviews with pledge companies, beginning with Erin Moran, Chief Culture Officer, at Union Square Hospitality Group.
In June 2018 Panorama announced The Paid Leave Pledge to further the adoption of paid leave by U.S. employers. The effort, which galvanizes leading business voices on paid leave around a commitment to share data on the impact of their paid family and medical leave (PFML) programs, aims to build the evidence base to support broad paid leave adoption.
USHG has long been a leader on paid leave, even despite the especially tough environment restaurants, and those in the hospitality industry in general, face. A Pew Research study released in 2017 found workers in the leisure/hospitality sector have some of the lowest rates of access to paid family leave with only about 6% reporting the benefit. While seldom discussed, restaurant workers make up the largest single employment group in the United States. If you include hospitality workers the workforce is nearly double that of any other industry in the country. Even more, on average, restaurant workers are the third lowest paying job in the U.S. Again, according to Pew, 30% of workers with household incomes under $30,000 said that they were unable to take leave when they needed it. USHG not only recognized this, but also thought, if employers in this industry can shift their thinking it could be hugely impactful to the future of work.
In 2016 the restaurant group, formed by Danny Meyer, did what they believed to be the right thing in implementing a paid leave policy that includes the same expansive maternity program for both hourly and salaried workers. It was, and still is, a big deal. Many large companies have only recently rolled out equitable benefits across their workforce. Eater NY appropriately covered the significance of Meyer’s groundbreaking move.
The effort didn’t come without consequence or challenge. As with any business, cost is always a consideration. Even more so for businesses, such as restaurants, which often have high overhead and low profit margins. For Chief Culture Officer Erin Moran, it was her proudest moment at the company.
“Our hope is other peers in the restaurant and hospitality industries will see this and be inspired to take action,” said Moran. “We want them to think, if they found a way to do it we can find a way as well.”
Regarding measurement of impact, Moran and team recognize PFML is a long-term return. While you can budget investments and returns such as talent attraction and retention, it is difficult to predict.
Panorama is thrilled to have USHG as one of the first leaders to join the paid leave pledge. Their commitment punctuates their already bold, public statement about how important paid leave is to them. We also hope it inspires others to push their thinking and join the cause.
In celebration of National Parents’ Day, which is celebrated in the U.S. on Sunday, July 22, Panorama staff reflected on what access to paid leave has meant to their relationships with, or as, parents. Being able to bond with a child, or care for yourself or a loved one is a right the majority of Americans simply don’t have. Currently, only 14% of the U.S. workforce has access to paid leave, a resource common in nearly every other developed country. As we celebrate our parents, and what it means to be a parent and shape a child, we find ourselves ever more devoted to helping map a future where all Americans have access to paid leave. Happy #nationalparentsday from Panorama!
“I was so fortunate to have paid leave for both of my daughters. I had 12 weeks for each, and it was only at about week 10 where I felt I was even beginning to function normally again – I cannot imagine having to go back to work within days of childbirth.” – Gabrielle Fitzgerald, Founder and CEO
“I consider myself incredibly fortunate. I was able to stay pain free during pregnancy. I didn’t have any complications during delivery. And my son was a great sleeper from the start. Even with all that going in my favor, I still found the first eight weeks of parenthood to be overwhelming, emotional, and hard. I feel so lucky that I didn’t have to rush back to work, but had the time to bond with my son and my partner, and to rest and take care of myself.” – Linda Patterson, Vice President
“Having been privileged enough to take time with my family when both of my kids were born – that is something I would never trade, compromise, or question. Those moments of discovery and connection are incredible. Each day is something new and amazing when it comes to moments with your kids. Striking a balance between work and family is hard, but having access to paid family and medical leave when you need it means not having to choose between missing those precious life moments and paying bills next month.” – Kimble Snyder, Director
“As a parent, having access to paid leave is essential to having a happy, well-balanced life. It means being able to be present with my family for the important moments – whether they’re major milestones like first steps or going for a walk on a sunny afternoon.” – Trisha Comsti, Program Officer
“Access to paid leave meant that my husband and I could both be home after the birth of our first child. Those irreplaceable first few months together allowed my husband and I to work as a team as we figured out what it means to be parents.” – Cate Blair, Program Officer
“Paid leave as a benefit was never something I thought much of, until I received a phone call that changed everything. When my mom had a stroke, and my siblings and I became instant caregivers, the reality of what paid leave means came immediately into focus.” – April Matson, Communications Officer
Share your story with us or on social media with the hashtags #nationalparentsday and #paidleave.