- Within states that have paid parental leave policies, 20% fewer women leave their jobs in the first year after having a baby, a new Institute for Women's Policy Research study revealed. The reduction surges to 50% in the five years following a new child, according to a Jan. 3 release from the study's funder, March of Dimes.
- The study also found that without paid leave, 30% of women will leave the workforce within a year after a new child's arrival, and 20% won't return from leave in 10 or more years.
- Study results showed that educated women benefited the most from paid family leave benefits; the study revealed increases in labor force participation in educated women until eight years after the birth of a child.
It appears more states may follow New Jersey and California's lead in adopting paid family leave policies. On Jan. 7, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Tennessee will provide paid family leave to state employees.
And recently, more than a handful of states passed worker-friendly laws, such as minimum wage increases, salary history bans, ban-the-box rules and predictive work scheduling mandates. Employers may grapple with a long list of state and municipal workplace mandates, but the popularity of benefits like paid family leave and flexible work schedules can bolster their competition for talent in a tight labor market and lower costly turnover among dissatisfied workers.
A pain point for working women with young families has been inflexible work schedules. The severity of the problem was revealed in a FlexJob survey, in which 42% of 2,000 women polled said that restarting a career after taking time out to raise a family was difficult without flexibility in their work life. But the problem doesn't just affect women; inflexible work schedules are driving both women and men out of the workplace, according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Its research found that women were 20% more likely to leave their jobs in companies without flexible work options, and men were even more likely to leave, at 30%. BCG said work flexibility is evolving from a "nice to have" perk into a "business imperative."