Americans want paid leave, but at employers' expense

Dive Brief:

    A Pew research study found that workers want their employers to pay for paid leave, not the government, BLR reports. Pew conducted the study last year and released the results in March.
    The study also found that 85% of survey respondents support paid medical leave for an employee’s serious illness and 67% support it for a seriously ill family member, BLR says. For paid parental leave, 82% said they want paid maternity leave compared with 69% who support paid paternity leave.
    According to BLR, 75% of respondents think employers should pay for maternity and paternity paid, while 72% think employers should pay for leave for employee illnesses. Only 59% felt employers should be responsible for paying for a family member’s illness.
Dive Insight:

While more employers seem to be advertising their paid leave programs, studies show that most employers haven't done the same. High-profile companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Deloitte, Netflix and Johnson & Johnson offer generous paid family leave benefits, but other companies may worry about the expense — especially if their employees expect them to pay for it.

Some employers offer paid leave to only a select group of employees, even though other employees would be eligible as prospective parents, ill employees or caregivers. A study by Paid Leave for the United States, a nonprofit organization, reveals that less than half of the top 60 US companies offering paid leave don’t publicize it. Speculation is that employers are mum because they don’t offer it to all workers. While this is changing in some industries, this practice largely remains the norm.

However, municipalities like Washington, D.C. and New York, are poised to offer some semblance of employer tax-funded family leave. Employers can expect GOP lawmakers on the state and local levels to push back on paid leave proposals, as they generally view paid leave as financially burdensome for employers.


By: Valerie Bolden-Barrett