Raising Corporate Awareness of Benefits of Paid Leave
Over the past several years the conversation about paid leave has launched to new heights. National attention is evident by the more than 300 articles on paid leave surfacing daily. Public policy is also picking up speed with five states and the District of Columbia passing legislation for paid family and medical leave.
Yet with all this movement, as well as many progressive employers voluntarily offering their own benefits, only 14 percent of Americans have access to pay when taking time off for a serious medical condition for themselves or a loved one. And 94% of low-wage workers do not have any paid leave at all.
An opportunity for corporate America
The gap in access is an obvious one – and at Panorama Global, we see it as a big opportunity for corporate America. In fact, this is what sets our approach apart – our goal has been to understand the employer point of view on paid family and medical leave, and we believe that sharing the business voice will help find sustainable solutions and give more Americans access to paid leave.
New to the scene, we began our work about a year ago. We talked with and listened to 500 companies in the U.S. spanning all industries. Our research has allowed us to create resources for employers and uncover valuable information – it’s a start. What we heard most is this: Paid leave is complicated. Even for those who are dedicating numerous resources to making it work.
We have the business case for paid leave
The good news is that employers see value in ensuring employees can take care of themselves or a loved one without worrying about their paycheck. We are in the position of gaining unique insights about the drivers, barriers and emerging trends of voluntary adoption. This is important because employers need to see that indeed, there are positive business benefits to offering paid leave.
Our comprehensive Playbook has resources and downloadable tools that help companies anywhere they are on the adoption lifecycle – from building the business case, to designing the plan, to implementation.
Let’s start with your ‘why’
These tools and resources give company decision makers the what and how. But to be clear, that’s not enough. We need a mindset shift. Every business leader needs a strong ‘why’. We can help with this too. A leader who sees the business value of offering paid leave and who models taking it, will jumpstart a cultural shift throughout the company.
More women are working than ever before, but women are not taking paid leave any more than they did 20 years ago. Why? They are taking the career penalty when they do.
Male leaders – we need you
This starts with our male leaders. Men can balance the caregiving landscape. Men need to take leave and publicly talk about it. While millennial dads are leading the way on this, we need men who are in leadership positions today to be role models. Men hold 80 percent of board seats and 95 percent of CEO roles in the U.S. Thus, when one man at the top takes leave, other men in the company are more likely to because they know it’s culturally acceptable.
The message I want to leave you with today is that offering paid leave at your company will help your employees, and your business, thrive and sustain over the long-term.
To offer or expand your company’s policy, access the Playbook through The Paid Leave Project site – download the business case, cost calculator, industry benchmarking, a paid leave policy template, and more. All our resources are free to employers.
If you already offer paid leave, beyond parental, including family and/or medical leave, we can partner with you to help shine a spotlight on the great work you’re doing – publicly.
If your company is tracking data that correlates to business outcomes of paid leave, we’d like to learn how you’re doing this, if you’re willing to share, as this will help other companies.
It is possible to design a plan for your workforce, and we are here to help simplify the process. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Paid Leave Project and Panorama
The Paid Leave Project is an initiative managed by Panorama that works with U.S. companies to raise awareness of the benefits of a comprehensive paid leave program for both employers and employees. For more information on the Paid Leave Project and its resources, including a downloadable playbook, visit www.paidleaveproject.org.
Panorama is an action tank working to solve global problems through audacious thinking and bold action. We bring together diverse perspectives to spark new ideas that create change on issues affecting people, the planet, and productivity. Based in Seattle, Panorama is a team of strategists, advocates, campaigners, analysts, storytellers, resource mobilizers, and organizational designers with deep experience in foundations, non-governmental organizations, private companies, and public institutions.