Longer paternity leaves provide a real advantage to families and employers. Researchers (and common sense) agree that paternity leaves are beneficial for the whole family, provide some much-needed time off from work, and give new meaning to the work-life balance.
When the employee returns to work, they will be refreshed and rejuvenated after having spent time with their newborn. They will bring higher levels of productivity at the workplace and a fresh perspective. It’s a win-win for all.
Only a few states provide paid paternity leaves. These are California, New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey State.
Paternity Leaves Done Right
Ideally, the paid paternity leaves should be designed around the specific requirements of each worker and their family. The current labor market has gone from full-time employment to a more sensitive labor market where employees, especially those at entry-level positions, work part-time jobs and multiple jobs- some with non-standard hours.
This means it would be futile to enact a one-size-fits-all policy for all employees. You have to take into account the lifestyle of each employee.
Some of the best practices in paid family leaves include the following:
- Employers can take cues from maternity leaves. A report by the 2014 International Organization Labor suggested a minimum of 14 weeks for maternity leaves. Any period too long or too short was deemed to weaken the mother’s resolve to her job and could cause her to exit the work force entirely.
- The leaves should be flexible and could be taken part time or throughout different time periods. This,again,depends on the employees’ requirements.
- All paternity leaves should provide job protection to employees, guaranteeing workers to return to work once their leaves have ended.
- The company should provide each employee with at least 50 percent wage replacement benefit for their leaves. Higher wage replacement rates will incentivize fathers to take their leaves and could improve productivity rates when they return.
- If paid leave programs are not affordable for employers, they may experiment with a universally accessible social insurance model that takes a small percentage of pay from participating employees. Everyone contributes from their paycheck to gain eligibility for paternity leave.
- Studies show that employees become more productive when they take breaks, yet most people are hesitant to avail their paternity leaves because they fear doing so could leave them behind the workforce. In these cases, it is up to the employers to create an environment that encourages employees to take their PTO.
- Paternity and maternity leaves are comparatively more sensitive and as such, subject to new laws that continue to evolve with time. For obvious reasons, it is important to pay attention to the news as they update to ensure your policy complies with the law. Make should to consult with legal counsel to avoid any liability because the laws vary from state to state.