- Most Americans agree that a federal paid leave policy would allow parents to bond with their new children and adjust to a new family member without sacrificing pay for potentially months at a time, according to a survey by Heart and Mind Strategies for the conservative advocacy group Independent Women's Forum. But nearly half of those surveyed feared such a policy could be abused, and 37% noted that higher taxes could be a potential drawback of a federal paid leave policy.
- Almost three-quarters of the 2,010 people surveyed said they strongly or somewhat support a federal leave policy. Among political lines, 87% of liberals, 83% of democrats, 73% of moderates, 72% of independents and 59% of conservatives said they support such a policy.
- Among those who said they are against a federal paid leave policy, 72% said they think "those who choose to have children should take responsibility for that choice — not the federal government." Sixty-two percent of the same group said they fear a policy would discourage businesses from offering their own leave benefits.
Forty percent of employers offer paid parental leave for birth and non-birth parents, according to Mercer's 2018 Survey on Absence and Disability Management. The number represents a significant increase — only 25% of employers had such policies in place in 2015, the Mercer report said, but its data still indicate that most employers don't offer paid parental leave for birth and non-birth parents.
This lack of universality when it comes to paid parental leave makes the benefit an attractive one when an employer makes it available, which could be why more employers are adding it to their compensation packages. Companies like Walmart and Starbucks are among the influx of companies offering hourly workers the benefit, according to The New York Times.
Paid parental leave benefits may prove an asset to employers, in addition to their employees, as they can enable caretakers to participate in the workforce; in fact, family-friendly policies could add as many as 5 million workers to the talent pool, according to a report published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Some employers are installing generous paid parental leave policies in order to craft a people-centric culture. New parents working at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, for example, can take up to six months of paid leave, the company recently announced. But employers will need to monitor their workforce to ensure the success of paid parental leave policies, however generous they are. The Gates Foundation announced plans to cut its 52-week policy in half after reviewing the three-year-old program and learning that its lengthy nature complicated workflow.