The Paid Family Leave Problem:
An Open Letter to the Top Employers in the United States
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent report on private sector access to paid family leave was sobering. Only 13% of people working in the private sector have access to paid family leave through their employer, and this number falls to 6% for low-wage workers.
On November 16 2016, the parental leave policies of the top 60 employers in the country were published at www.paidleave.us/topemployers. Together, these companies employ more than 14 million people, and their policies have wide-reaching impact across the workforce, from low wage and retail workers to executives and senior staff.
The database and its accompanying report reveal some startling new information about the state of paid family leave in the United States. Despite numerous outreach attempts, more than half of these companies have failed to reveal what their paid family leave policies are. Nearly all of the companies that did respond have discriminatory policies that leave out adoptive parents, fathers, same-sex parents, and employees who don’t work in the corporate office.
Access to paid family leave is critically important to our families, our health, and our economy. Companies must be transparent about their policies so employees and prospective employees can make fully informed choices about their careers, families, and lives. It is also critical for policymakers to understand the full scope of these business practices in order to facilitate the development of much-needed paid family leave public policies.
We believe that companies that are truly family friendly will be proud to share what they do to ensure that all of their employees can be there when their families need them most. We urge employers to be transparent about their family leave policies by making them fully accessible to their own employees and the public.
Studies show that paid family leave is good for a company’s bottom line, reducing turnover costs and increasing retention — especially among female employees. We applaud companies with universal and equal policies, and encourage companies without such policies to extend these benefits to all of their employees.
We encourage the 60 largest employers in the nation, as well as other companies, to learn about and support public policy that will provide coverage for all working people in the United States.
Paid family leave is essential to support our next generation of workers, whom we need to fuel our future economy. It’s time for American businesses to do their part to ensure that everyone in the United States can be present when their families need them most.
We look forward to greater transparency on this important issue.
This letter was originally published by PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States on November 16 2016 as part of the Top 60 Employers campaign which published an index of the paid parental leave policies of the largest employers in the US.