Paid Parental Leave: Why It's Important to Millennials

Do you know what’s important to your employees, especially the up and coming workforce of millennials? Put paid parental leave on the list. According to an Ernst & Young Study, millennials value workplace flexibility and paid parental leave more than other generations. Why is this emphasis on millennials important? Because in 10 years, 75 percent of the workplace will be millennial.

Paid parental leave is also gaining popularity among organizations. According to a SHRM study, 16 percent of employers offered paid maternity leave in 2011 and 21 percent in 2015. A number of states and cities have also enacted paid sick leave or paid family leave regulations.

Setting the Standard High

The following organizations have recently made headlines after announcing new or updated parental leave policies.

Netflix® recently instated a policy that allows salaried employees to take as much paid time off as they want in the year after the birth or the adoption of a child.

Microsoft® changed its paid parental leave to 20 weeks for birth mothers and 12 weeks for all parents of new children. Parents are also allowed to split the leave into two segments and return to the workplace slowly.

Wells Fargo® began offering paid parental leave for the first time in June 2016, and just recently changed it to 16 weeks for a primary caregiver and four weeks for a non-primary caregiver following a birth or an adoption.

DMACC® gives its employees 20 weeks paid maternity, 12 weeks paid paternity, and eight weeks unpaid paternity.

Accenture® increased their maternity leave to 16 paid weeks and also offers paid leave for secondary caregivers. In addition, parents of newborn or adopted children get a year break from business travel.

Hilton Worldwide® recently stated that all new parents will get two weeks of paid leave, and new birth mothers will get 10 weeks of paid leave.

Johnson & Johnson® offers new parents eight weeks of paid leave to use at some point in the first year of the birth or adoption of a child.

U.S. Navy recently expanded their paid maternity leave to 18 weeks.

American Express® announced that it will offer 20 weeks of paid parental leave to mother and fathers, and an additional six to eight weeks for birth mothers that require medical leave, starting in January 2017.

Why it's Important

Family-friendly benefits are a key differentiator for employers competing for top talent. An organization offering paid parental leave is perceived as family-oriented and thoughtful. Offering paid family leave benefits positively impacts employee turnover and retention over time. Research suggests that women are more likely to continue working after having a child when paid leave is offered, so organizations offering this benefit are more likely to retain workers they have invested significant time and expense into developing.  

Think of it this way: the several weeks or months that it would take to find a replacement for the new parent, along with the costs to recruit, interview, train, and develop a new employee, usually outweighs the cost of providing paid leave.

Is it time for your organization to rethink paid parental leave?

Sarah Charlier

As a HR Services Supervisor for Oasis, a Paychex® Company, Sarah Charlier engages directly with Presidents, CEOs, and Executive Leadership in organizations to identify and execute strategic human resources initiatives. She serves as a business partner by leading executives and managers through employee relations issues, technical labor law compliance, preparing managers to effectively manage employee performance, and creating and adapting HR processes to best serve the organization.


January 13, 2017

Posted by

Sarah Charlier