In today's rapidly evolving work environments, creating inclusive and family-friendly policies has become more critical than ever. Gen Z and Millennial employees, who now make up a substantial portion of the workforce, are expecting paid parental leave and holistic family-first policies. An overwhelming 86% of millennials consider paid parental leave a factor that makes them more loyal to an employer. With 70% of employers interested in adding or expanding paid parental leave, leveraging paid parental leave as a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) advantage is becoming a necessity for organizations.
Paid parental leave is not just a benefit; it's a catalyst for change by advancing DEIB goals. Offering paid parental leave promotes health equity, providing financial stability for marginalized groups. LGBTQ+ and BIPOC employees often face exclusion from most parental leave policies that do not promote diverse family structures. 70% of LGBTQ+ employees are or want to be parents and are seven times more likely to adopt or foster. And unfortunately, 38% of BIPOC women do not take available leave due to its unpaid nature.
But new dads are also impacted by inequitable parental leave policies. Dads are leading the charge for paid family leave (PFL) claims in California, but only 13% of private sector workers are employed at workplaces that offer paid paternity leave to all male employees. Paid parental leave also helps facilitate career advancement and addresses gender wage disparities for working parents. Inclusivity is a core element of paid parental leave, as it fosters an environment where all employees and their families can access essential support during life’s most common event: parenthood.
Comprehensive DEIB Checklist
To help companies advance DEIB initiatives with paid parental leave, we have developed a comprehensive checklist for HR leaders. These are a few areas to analyze and consider to determine if your existing parental leave approach and policy is inclusive for all parents.
Paid Parental Leave
First, HR must evaluate whether the existing parental leave policy promotes equity, inclusivity, and belonging. For example:
Does the policy provide at least 12 weeks of paid leave for women after childbirth, excluding PTO and sick days? Doing so contributes to better maternal health and female talent retention.
Does the policy provide a minimum of 10 weeks of flexible paid leave, regardless of gender and whether the employee is a birthing parent? This ensures equal leave for all employees to support diverse family structures and avoids gender-based discrepancies.
Are the pregnancy and parental leave policies separated? This ensures an inclusive approach and addresses the needs of diverse family structures who choose adoption or fostering.
Is there flexibility in duration with the option for intermittent leave? For example, some adoptive or foster parents may require early leave prior to the placement, and may require flexible return to work arrangements.
These inclusive measures, combined with specialized support like coaching for new parents returning to work, contribute to a workplace culture that fosters diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The gender wage gap triples after parenthood, but every month of paid paternity leave is tied to a 7% increase in moms’ earnings.
Providing paid parental leave to everyone is equality, but providing personalized support and flexible work during parenthood is equity.
Parento helps companies fully insure paid parental leave while providing personalized wraparound support through coaching and leave administration. On average, employees use 13 hours of coaching through Parento, surpassing the average usage of comparable Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). An impressive 95% of Parento parents return to work full-time after their paid parental leave, demonstrating the positive impact of a comprehensive approach.
Effective return-to-work strategies are equally crucial. The statistics speak for themselves: 30% of women without paid maternity leave quit the year they have a child. On the other hand, providing 12 weeks of paid parental leave can reduce turnover by up to 69%. This leads us to the second part of the checklist to help companies ensure their employees experience a smooth transition back to work from parental leave.
Here are a few areas for HR to consider:
Offer training for managers with employees taking or returning from parental leave to ensure a supportive and inclusive work environment.
Provide easily accessible support resources before, during, and after welcoming a child, particularly for moms, to ease the transition into parenthood and back to work.
Ensure you have legally compliant lactation rooms.
Encourage and enable employees to use support resources during work hours and provide flexible schedules for all employees to accommodate changing family needs.
With this DEIB checklist, businesses can leverage paid parental leave to attract and retain top talent, reduce turnover, and foster a healthier workplace culture.
To help companies make these actions even more impactful, we also have a Return to Work Toolkit to implement a strategic re-onboarding plan.
Inclusive Family-Friendly Policies: A Necessity
Leveraging paid parental leave as a DEIB advantage is not just a trend but a necessity in today's evolving work landscape. Only 45% of survey respondents indicate that their employers have LGBTQ-inclusive leave policies, and 48% report that the policies cover new parents of all genders equally. To drive improved outcomes for both employers and working parents, it's essential for organizations to create inclusive policies, support employees throughout their parental journey, and facilitate a smooth return to work. The Parento solution offers a comprehensive approach to managing paid parental leave that’s a game-changer for organizations seeking to advance their DEIB initiatives. Get started with this Schedule a demo with sales and start designing a custom policy for your workforce.
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