Why less than half of top 60 US companies make their paid leave policies public
- A new report by Paid Leave for the United States (PLUS), a nonprofit organization, shows that many of the nation’s top 60 employers, which include Walgreens, FedEx and Boeing, are mum about their leave policies. Fortune reports that in PLUS’s study, 33 of the top employers didn’t make information about their leave policies public and that eight of this group wouldn’t share their policies with PLUS. Twenty-five companies never responded.
- The companies didn’t say why they didn’t want to disclose their policies, said PLUS’s founder and executive director, Katie Bethell. She said one possible reason could be because they don’t offer paid leave to all their workers. Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, openly admitted that it doesn’t offer hourly employees paid leave. Salaried mothers at the company get 12 weeks of paid leave and fathers receive two weeks.
- PLUS also found that companies didn’t leave out just hourly workers from paid leave. Out of 27 companies surveyed, 22 had unequal leave policies. Fathers and adoptive parents received less time off than birth mothers, and seven companies had no paternity leave at all. These companies included CVS, General Motors, Ford and Verizon.
PLUS rightly points out the discrepancies in who gets paid leave. And she might have correctly speculated that some companies kept quiet about their paid leave policies because they don’t offer them to low-wage workers. Large retailers like Walmart and CVS often have high turnover, which might make administering paid leave for large numbers of hourly workers difficult. Also, paid leave often is accrued, and some hourly workers might not be at a company long enough to earn the time.
Offering paid leave to birth mothers but not fathers or adoptive parents also could set off questions of discrimination. Employers must consider whether it would be better not to offer paid leave at all than risk discriminating against certain groups of employees.
Bethell said companies competing for the best talent, like Deloitte and IBM, also offer the most generous leave benefits. That’s not surprising, since they have sizable budgets for hiring. But they also recognize paid leave as a highly desirable benefit, especially among millennials.