Paid family leave can have an upside for your business. When people feel needed at home, but can’t afford to take time off, they are distracted, extra stressed, fatigued, and prone to burnout. Their mind isn’t on the job—it’s on the loved one that needs them. When a business offers paid time off, it makes an investment in its people, a small short-term loss for a big long-term gain.
Employment benefits that improve quality of life, increase flexibility, and enable people to attend to their personal needs rank high among both employees and jobseekers. And yet, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while 79 percent of employees have access to paid sick leave, only 23 percent have access to paid family leave.
What’s the difference between these benefits? Sick leave typically entitles people to take time off work when they or a family member are sick or need to see a doctor for preventative care. State-mandated sick leave benefits often top out around 40 hours per year, but paid sick leave is a common benefit that many companies offer even when it’s not required by law. Employees appreciate being able to rest and recover without a ding to their paycheck. Employers win because employees don’t come to work while sick and risk infecting coworkers and customers.
Paid family leave programs, whether funded by the state or offered by an employer out of the goodness of their heart, generally cover more lengthy illnesses and life events. For example, California’s state-sponsored program provides up to eight weeks of wage replacement benefits in a 12-month period. Benefits can be collected when taking time off for the birth of a child or adoption or foster care placement of a child; to care for an employee’s family member with a serious health condition; and to participate in a qualifying event as a result of a family member’s military deployment to a foreign country.
Unsurprisingly, not many companies offer their own paid family leave benefit. It is expensive, which is why states that provide paid family leave benefits typically fund it through payroll deductions. For employees, unpaid leave is better than no leave, but unpaid leave isn’t always a realistic option. In many cases, people who need time off to care for a family member can’t afford to take it—or they don’t take as much of it as they’d like. They feel they have no choice but to work. Paid leave, on the other hand, gives people a real option to take time off. It makes it possible for them to balance their obligations at work and at home.
Paid family leave can have an upside for your business too. When people feel needed at home, but can’t afford to take time off, they are distracted, stressed, fatigued, and prone to burnout. Their mind isn’t on the job—it’s on the loved one that needs them. When a business offers paid time off, it makes an investment in its people, a small short-term loss for a big long-term gain. Paid leave gets people back to work when they’re actually ready and able to work effectively, and it generates loyalty toward the company that was there for them when they needed it. That’s why employers keen on attracting and retaining skilled people often choose to offer various paid leave benefits when they’re not legally required to do so.
If you determine a paid family leave benefit is something your company would like to offer, here are some recommended practices:
Mineral users can learn more about paid family leave and related compliance obligations on the platform. Select “Leaves & Time Off” under the HR Compliance tab at the top of the page or search if you have a specific question in mind.