Closing the Gaps in U.S. Paid Leave – Our Highlights of New York Times Story, “Walmart and Now Starbucks: Why More Big Companies Are Offering Paid Family Leave”

This is the most comprehensive article on paid leave we’ve seen in a long time.

Here are 10 story highlights – and why this news is so significant to American workers, business and the U.S. economy:

  • Starbucks just announced it is expanding paid leave to hourly workers.
  • This follows the same recent news by Walmart.
  • These are two huge employers of U.S. workers = huge impact in terms of increasing U.S. workers’ access to paid leave. Walmart employs 1.5 million in the U.S. alone.
  • Chart/ visual shows paid leave at about 20 of the U.S. largest companies.
  • Most important takeaway in this news: 1) We are increasing access for hourly workers, not just corporate employees. This is huge progress for equality. 2) Let’s acknowledge the role of the new tax credit at play here. It’s a sign that the effects of low unemployment have reached companies that rely on low-wage workers. Both companies credited tax cuts. 3) This is particularly significant because the retail industry is traditionally known to have low profit margins, making it more challenging to offer extra employee benefits and supports. 4) The tipping point. Industries benchmark against competitors. This news will have a domino effect.
  • “A corporate person having a child versus someone lower having a child, there’s no difference — that child still needs its parents,” said Paris Mendez, who loads trucks at a Walmart distribution center in Smyrna, Del.
  • Paid leave is becoming a gender neutral conversation… men are caregivers too!
  • And paid leave helps keep women in the workforce which is good for business and good for the U.S. economy.
  • Americans are not ambivalent about whether paid leave helps workers. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 94 percent said it would help families, and two-thirds said it would help the economy.
  • Business leaders and decision makers are asking us to “show them the ROI of paid leave.” Here it is: Research has found that mothers who take paid parental leave are more likely to be working a year later, and less likely to receive public aid. It also improves mothers’ physical and mental health; the duration of breast-feeding; babies’ health and development; and gender equity. When fathers take such leave, research shows, they are more involved in their children’s lives years later; their children are healthier; and mothers have increased earnings and better mental health.

Find the full story here

Paid Leave for a 21st Century Workforce: A National Conversation with DMEC & Employers

What happens when 280 companies get together to talk about the benefits and challenges of paid leave programs? Insightful conversation. Evolving perspectives. Even an emerging consensus.

Earlier this month we at The Paid Leave Project and the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) hosted an interactive, national webinar to discuss a developing workforce trend: paid leave as an important component of building a 21stcentury workforce.

More than 280 organizations nationwide joined the wide-ranging discussion about what’s required to build the business case for paid leave. We were lucky to be joined by two outstanding co-presenters:

  • LeaveLogic: CEO Anna Steffeney made the conversation real by walking through the data that demonstrates the actual business advantages of paid leave programs.
  • Nestlé USA: Veronica Scalzo, manager of benefits strategy and excellence at Nestlé USA, talked about Nestlé’s experience creating a best-in-class parental leave program.

It’s no secret: the environment facing U.S. employers is complex. Legal mandates related to paid leave programs are being proposed at city, state and national levels. Five states and the District of Columbia have already passed paid leave laws, and more than 18 states are actively discussing enacting a law. Employers, especially those who operate across state lines, often have more than one (sometimes up to six) paid leave laws to navigate.

One underlying thesis was confirmed by those attending the webinar: companies know that paid leave will help them attract top talent and keep good employees. But the path to establishing a paid leave program can be vague and complicated.

Companies may initially be deterred by what they think a paid leave program will cost or because they don’t know how to establish metrics to accurately assess the success of a program. Faced with these challenges, leading drivers for adoption often end up being employee demand, industry pressure or a legal mandate.

Yet paid leave programs are becoming increasingly important. Today’s millennials, who are steering the way toward a 21stcentury workforce, demand more workplace flexibility than ever. Companies need to get creative to develop programs that attract top performers and support their bottom-line business objectives.

That’s where The Paid Leave Project and LeaveLogic can both help. We have resources to help companies create paid leave programs that work for them and their employees.

During the webinar, I was honored to share an overview of The Paid Leave Project Playbook, a suite of tools and resources that help employers successfully build or expand their paid leave benefits. Anna Steffeney, CEO of LeaveLogic, spoke about ways to measure the ROI of paid leave, including employee retention, talent attraction and costs. Veronica Scalzo, manager of benefits strategy and excellence at Nestlé USA, shared what Nestlé has learned and the early results the company sees.

I think you will find the discussion interesting: listen to the archived event or access the presentation deck. For additional resources, visit:

My sincere thanks to DMEC and my co-presenters for sparking such an intriguing discussion of how paid leave programs can help shape our 21st century workforce. This is one conversation that is just beginning.

The Paid Leave Project Releases Policy Template for Employers

Policy is the newest resource to help employers bring effective paid leave benefits to their business

SEATTLE, November 6, 2017 – The Paid Leave Project today released a template to help employers create an effective paid leave policy. The template is a new resource in the Paid Leave Playbook, which helps companies build a business case for offering paid leave to all employees.

The Paid Leave Project’s step-by-step Playbook equips companies to design custom paid leave programs that fit their culture and values. It provides comprehensive guidance and tools for human resource (HR) teams, legal and compliance officers, and business leaders who are ready to explore how paid parental, caregiver, and medical leave benefits make sense for their business and employees. The need for a policy template was surfaced through strategic conversations with large employers nationwide.

“Employers are facing new demands of the 21st century workforce,” said Angela Romei, director of The Paid Leave Project. “We’re finding paid leave to be a major benefit consideration for employees, and employers are working to figure out how to administer and pay for it.”

The environment facing U.S. employers is complex. Five states and the District of Columbia have already passed paid leave laws, and more than 18 states are actively discussing the potential for policy. As a result, arming employers with resources to successfully implement or expand their paid leave offerings is becoming critical.

The policy template was created in partnership with Jeff Nowak, partner, Franczek Radelet P.C., and author of the FMLA Insights blog, which provides practical guidance to employers when administering leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. It is based on research conducted by Panorama and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) over the past year. In February 2017, BCG and Panorama released Why Paid Family Leave Is Good Business, a summary report from initial research into the paid leave practices of more than 250 U.S. companies. The team also interviewed more than 55 HR and benefits administrators from some of the largest employers in the United States for their detailed experience creating and managing paid leave programs.

Employers can access the new policy template here. The Playbook also offers industry benchmarking and a cost calculator. To address the changing needs of employers, The Paid Leave Project will continue to expand the Playbook to help HR, benefits, and company leaders design custom paid leave programs that fit their culture and values.

Corporate America Needs to Step up and Support Paid Family Leave

When I first heard my daughter Lincoln cry as she came out of the womb at 6 a.m. on a Tuesday morning last September, I was numb, sleep-deprived, and in disbelief. The baby had arrived, and however brave a face I tried to put up, I was not ready. The day before, I had a life of my own that I shared with my pregnant partner Kara. The next, I was responsible not only for myself and an exhausted partner, but also a living, breathing, newborn daughter being handed over to me to claim as my own.

The disorientation was profound. And yet, as a father, I had not endured hours of labor and delivery. Nor did I have to carry a fetus for nine months. Nor did I have months of breastfeeding awaiting me.

Continue to the full article at The Good Men Project.

Popular, Complex New Benefit: Paid Family Leave Makes Work Flexible

Some employers are providing paid family leave (PFL) as a popular addition to employee benefit packages, and are finding that it can help improve employee engagement and productivity.

While large employers in technology, finance, consulting, and legal are leading the charge, other industries and smaller employers are beginning to offer PFL as well. Historically, paid parental leave (PPL) was the benefit launching point that evolved into PFL with broader benefits. The news media frequently discuss the two interchangeably, which can be confusing.

PFL is a complex benefit with multiple factors affecting cost and perceived value to employees:

  • What family leave purposes are covered? Options include: bonding at birth or adoption; caring for parents; caring for spouses; caring for children; personal healthcare; domestic abuse or stalking response; and military family leave.
  • What is the level of mandated wage replacement? State PFL and local laws vary as to percentage of wage replaced, and the maximum cap on total weekly benefits. States offering PFL include California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York (beginning Jan. 1, 2018), and District of Columbia (beginning July 1, 2020). Employers have more freedom to design custom PFL packages for their employees if unaffected by these jurisdictions or similar municipal laws.
  • What is the duration of the benefit? In Rhode Island it’s four weeks, in California and New Jersey it’s six weeks, and New York begins at eight weeks and will reach 12 weeks by 2021. In these four states, the program builds on state temporary disability insurance programs. The District of Columbia will require from two to eight weeks depending on leave purpose. U.S. corporate benefits run as high as 20 weeks of PPL at Twitter, 26 weeks at Etsy, and 12 months at Netflix.

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