The Build Back Better Act appears to be on the chopping block, leaving parents and advocates wondering: why is it so hard to get paid leave? Despite strong public support, the U.S. has no national standards for paid leave, leaving working parents concerned that the door will close on a once-in-a-generation opportunity for parent-friendly legislation and protection. Parento is pioneering the paid parental leave space with a privatized solution for employers and employees: paid parental leave insurance, covering up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave for moms and dads, whether birth, adoptive, or foster.
“Paid Parental leave is fast becoming a staple company policy, and employers who do not adopt a more inclusive, proactive approach for their working parents will be left scrambling to recruit and retain talent,” says Tiarra Hamlett, Director of Marketing. “The Great Resignation is teaching us, in real-time, that employees will walk away from a job that does not prioritize their family and mental health. Employers must invest in family-first policies to recruit and retain employees at all levels.”
Parento launched the first iteration of its insurance-based program in fall 2020, quickly expanding to 20 states, which now includes Florida and Massachusetts. Parento’s three-pronged program combines employer-paid insurance for 6 to 16 weeks of paid parental leave; tailored, expert support and resources for working parents; and leave administration – and has proven highly desirable amongst companies focused on enhancing their approach to employees with kids.
Florida currently has no paid parental leave program, leaving workers on their own while building their families. Parento has changed that in the state. For Massachusetts, employees can now receive the pay, time, and support they need, going well beyond the paid family leave program offered by the state.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than one in four (23%) U.S. employees have access to paid family leave through their employers. The last significant reform for parents was in 1993 with the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) providing 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year with complex eligibility requirements. Access to paid parental leave and parental support, especially for women whose careers are too often adversely affected by parenthood, is linked to a reduced gender wage gap, household income stability, and improved career trajectory.
Famtech – the buzzword describing companies solving for common parenting and familial needs – has birthed dozens of family-focused startups but Parento is the first and only to focus on expanding paid parental leave in a way companies are familiar with: insurance. “Employees are going to have kids and are going to demand paid leave. We’re here to make sure employers have the resources to effectively support them,” said founder and CEO Dirk Doebler.
Federal paid leave may be on the chopping block but innovative startups are stepping up to meet the needs of working Americanas.