Research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2023 shows that paid maternity and paternity leave increased by five percent last year, with 32% of employers now offering paid paternity leave. Furthermore, although many men have not taken paternity leave in the past, even if it was available, an increasing number of men are taking advantage of available parental leave time.

More employers also are working to ensure that fathers have a healthy work-life balance. While men taking time off to care for their children is still a newer concept, it is becoming a more common practice at employers who make it an available option. Employers who offer new dads the chance to bond with their newborns and spend time with their significant others as they heal indicate that these policies promote employee retention, advance gender equity, and help maintain better work-life balance for employees. Another employer also pointed out that some studies show that children who spend more time with their fathers early in life have better academic and behavioral outcomes, which can decrease long term family stress.

Employers also recognize the value of offering ample paid time off to parents. For instance, DeVry allows all employees to take a block of four weeks off at 100% pay if it is taken within the first six months of a child being born, fostered, or adopted.  Mothers who give birth also receive short-term disability at 100% of their pay for six to eight weeks, depending on the type of birth.

Likewise, another New York employer offers parents four weeks of parental leave. However, mothers may take additional medical leave with salary continuation based on how long they have been with the employer.

Liberty Mutual Insurance reports that it offers employees eight weeks of parental leave for newly born, fostered, or adopted children. Employees who give birth are eligible for an additional eight weeks of short-term disability leave.

Equally important to offering ample time off to both parents is the company’s assurances that employees can utilize the time they are given. Companies should encourage all employees to fully take advantage of parental leave policies and remove the stigma or traditional culture in which only women may take maternity leave when a child is born. Employers also should emphasize that taking parental leave in no way affects job security or stability and career progression.

Some companies have even gone beyond paternity leave to offer additional benefits to support families, such as Liberty Mutual. The insurance company, which has 35,000 employees across the globe, provides up to $40,000 for adoption or surrogacy expenses, and a $45,000 fertility benefit that does not require an infertility diagnosis.

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 470-571-1007.