According to the US Department of Labor, the number of mothers in the labor force is soaring.
In 1975, roughly 47 percent of women with children under 18 were working. By 2015, that number had soared to 70 percent.
The increase is even more pronounced for mothers with children under the age of 3, growing 27 percent over the same period of time.
With the number of working moms at an all-time high and Mother’s Day on the calendar this month, I want to take some time to explore the connection between parental leave and company culture.
My wife works for Nestle Health Sciences, a company with a very progressive leave policy, so our family has personally experienced how significant parental leave can be.
Through Nestle, my wife received 14 weeks paid leave. New Jersey also offers six weeks of partially paid time off through its family leave insurance (FLI) program.
In addition to these programs, my wife also opted to take four weeks of unpaid time off.
All of this adds up to six months of time off, all of which my wife spent secure in the knowledge that she could return to work when she was ready.
The greatest testament to the power of a comprehensive parental leave policy is that my wife is still happily employed at Nestle.
It makes sense that a company like Nestle Health Sciences, which deals with pediatric nutrition, would offer great parental leave benefits.
Companies of all stripes, however, are quickly realizing that parental leave benefits can be a huge boon to recruitment and maintaining high morale.
Take the consulting company Accenture. They have been featured in Working Mothers’ 100 Best Companies list for more than 15 years.
In 2015, they doubled their maternity leave benefit to 16 weeks.
Stacey Jones, who works in media relations for Accenture, noted that the change resulted in a 40 percent reduction in the number of moms leaving their job after the birth or adoption of child.
Retention isn’t the only benefit companies receive from having an impressive parental leave policy.
Women are half the workforce, which means they represent half of the talent pool companies are hiring from.
If you offer a bare-bones parental leave policy, you’re going to lose potential talent to companies with better policies.
Maintaining a successful career and having children should not be mutually exclusive. The faster your company realizes that, the better off you’ll be.
Unlike many countries (especially in Europe), the US does not federally mandate any maternity or paternity leave.
As a result, it’s up to states, cities, and companies to offer these services. An impressive leave policy can be a huge differentiating factor for your business.
In addition to parental leave benefits, many larger companies now offer on-site daycare and other services geared to mothers of young children.
As somebody happily married to a woman who successfully balances work and family, I say it’s high time that companies started taking a look at their parental leave policy. The days when starting a family meant the end of your career should be a thing of the past.
I say it’s high time that companies started taking a look at their parental leave policy. The days when starting a family meant the end of your career should be a thing of the past.
In closing, I just want to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. Whether at home or in the office, your value cannot be overstated.
Michael Staskiewicz, CCIM is the Managing Principal of Effective Realty Advisors and Founder of EffectiveWorkplace.com. Michael helps innovative, purpose-driven CEOs clarify the strategic plan for a world-class work environment, so they can attract the best talent and reduce voluntary turnover.