When it comes to supporting working parents, the United States is still falling far behind other nations. Even under new legislation, new mothers are still only entitled to less than three weeks of paid leave following delivery; as for paid paternity leave, the U.S. is the only wealthy country that doesn’t offer it at all to new fathers. At Facebook, employees are offered up to four months of paid parental leave following the birth of a child, and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg made waves in 2015 when he announced he would be taking two full months of paid paternity leave, unheard of in the American work force.
From a global perspective, we’re miles behind where we ought to be; however, tech companies are now working to bridge that gap and offer more parental leave for new parents. Working Mother has recently released their 32nd-annual list of the top 100 companies with the best benefits, and the results are telling.
The support that’s being offered to working parents now extends far beyond initial post-delivery care and is helping parents, especially those in high-pressure jobs, manage both their family life and their work life. Several companies at the forefront of the top 100 are offering additional services including support for parents with autism (88% of the top 100), gradually letting new mothers phase back into work (70%), college coaching for high schoolers (63%), and even support for homework (25%).
Companies are also offering more resources to parents for childcare. 92% of the top 100 offer daycare and backup care options or compensation for them during busy times like summer and school holidays.
The most competitive companies are looking for highly skilled employees and, in order to attract them, offering great benefits that extend to not only the employee but their family as well. Subha Barry, senior vice president & managing director of Working Mother Media, discussed how delving deeper and identifying parental needs that extend beyond initial maternity/paternity leave. She notes that businesses are now acknowledging the value of employee retention and are adopting the mindset: “I will pay more, have less in my bottom line, but I will keep my employees.”
The change is also elicited, in part, by the demands of highly skilled millennials. In 2017, approximately a third of companies in the United States expanded their benefit offerings, citing the ‘war for talent’ as the primary factor, according to the 2017 Society for Human Resource Management.