Survey: 38% of Employers Offer Paid Parental Leave

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By Michael Trimarchi

Paid parental leave for employees who are new parents is offered by 38 percent of employers, a survey for a nonprofit human resources association said May 2.

The average amount of time offered was 4.1 weeks for eligible full-time employees who were new parents, said the survey conducted by WorldatWork and underwritten by the consulting firm Mercer LLC. The benefit allows new parents to recover from the birth of a child and to care for and bond with a new child.

“Providing paid leave has progressed from being a social issue to being a business imperative,” said Pam Jeffords, a partner at Mercer.

Paid parental leave was defined as distinct from other paid-leave programs, such as short-term disability, sick time, government-funded disability or insurance payments and general paid time-off leave programs, including those that supplement partial pay.

Additionally, employees did not have to use or exhaust other paid time or earnings to apply the benefit.

Full Pay for Qualified Employees

Among employers with paid parental-leave benefits, the survey said 80 percent offered employees full and normal pay, 78 percent offered paid parental leave to all employees and 47 percent of workers were eligible to take paid parental leave on their hiring date. The electronic survey of 5,428 WorldatWork members was conducted in late 2016; 386 responses were received.

Separately, a May 4 report by the Congressional Research Service on paid family leave said that 13 percent of employees in the private sector had access to the leave through employers, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey.

The availability of paid family leave was more prevalent among professional and technical occupations and industries, high-paying occupations, full-time workers and workers in large companies, the survey said.

For More Information

The WorldatWork survey and the Congressional Research Service report are available online.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Trimarchi in Washington at mtrimarchi@bna.com.

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