Although the advantages of offering paid maternity leave are frequently recognized, the importance of providing paid paternity leave is often overlooked. Many new fathers would like to take time off when a child is born or adopted, but not all companies offer paternity leave benefits. This type of leave can be an attractive benefit when recruiting and retaining these employees.
This Benefits Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.
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Paid Paternity Leave versus FMLA
Paternity leave is the paid or unpaid time that a father takes off work for a child’s birth or adoption. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires covered employers (typically those with 50 or more employees) to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave for eligible employees for certain circumstances, which includes for the birth and care of a child within one year of his or her birth or placement.
Some states have additional leave requirements beyond federally mandated family leave. However, there are no laws requiring that private companies pay employees during paternity leave.
Paid paternity leave goes beyond the FMLA requirements and offers fully or partially paid leave for new fathers. It typically runs concurrently with FMLA-required leave, but it can be offered in addition to FMLA leave.
Advantages of Paternity Leave
Although unpaid leave is mandated by FMLA, paid paternity benefits are an attractive but not universally offered benefit. Only 18% of private sector employees had access to paid FMLA leave in 2018, according to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Paid paternity leave serves as a great recruitment and retention tool, and offering this benefit can set your company apart when recruiting talented job candidates. Studies show that the majority of working fathers think these paternity leave benefits are important, and more than half of young fathers have considered the availability of paid paternity leave benefits when deciding whether or not to take a job.
An additional benefit of paternity leave is to the employee’s family. Studies have shown that a father taking paternity leave to be with his family for the first weeks after a child’s birth improves both the mother’s wellbeing and the quality of the bond between father and child.
Offering Paternity Leave
If you choose to offer paternity leave, you will need to consider the following:
- How much time off will you provide for paternity leave?
- Will paid leave run concurrently or in addition to FMLA leave?
- Can paid paternity leave be taken incrementally or must it be taken in one chunk of time directly following the birth or adoption of the child?
- Can paternity leave be taken part time?
- Will paternity leave include partial or full pay?
- How will you determine eligibility? For example, does the employee have to be employed for a certain length of time before becoming eligible for paid paternity leave?
- How will you encourage employees to take advantage of the benefit? Studies show that many of the fathers who are offered paternity leave but don’t use it fear the stigma that may come with taking time off work for a newborn.
Paid paternity leave can be a great addition to your benefits package and can help with both recruitment and retention. Consider how paternity leave fits into your company’s culture and create a policy that works for you.
To receive the guidance you need regarding your employee’s benefits contact TPG Payroll & HR Services today, call us at 909.466.7876 or visit our web page Employee Benefits – Plans That Attract Talent to learn more!