- The Paid Leave Project will study how employers track and monitor the outcomes of their paid leave programs. The project, supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will encourage employers to share their data publicly and help them measure the ROI of paid leave offerings.
- Project leaders said tracking data is still the missing piece in understanding the real impact of paid family and medical leave, particularly on productivity and the bottom line. The project initially will focus on cost, business results and health, and will examine how leave affects talent attraction, employee retention, engagement, morale and infant and parents' health.
- Each business has its own needs, project leaders said in announcing the initiative, but there are metrics and costs that apply universally.
Employers have used similar data-sharing processes to find ways to cut costs and measure outcomes in hiring and healthcare. Publicly sharing information is another way to create transparency and serve as a thought leader; Facebook shared its sexual harassment policy at the end of 2017 to encourage fellow employers to share their own best practices on the topic in light of #MeToo.
Anecdotally, more retailers are adopting paid parental leave to better attract and retain even hourly employees. And while recent studies show that paid parental leave may not solve the "motherhood pay gap" alone, more employers are taking the time to reconsider their work structures to enable more worker flexibility, especially around family management.
Some studies have attempted to explore the impact of paid leave more widely. A joint study by Florida Atlantic University and Cleveland State University concluded that employers must offer at least 10 days of sick leave to see a clear return on their investment, as employees then actually use the time for preventative care. Such considerations will be needed to fully examine the impact of paid leave over time.