More states are now making it mandatory for businesses to offer paternity leaves, starting with maternity leaves. The tight labor market requires businesses to think outside of the box and offer more than just the bare minimum. If you don’t put maternity leaves front and center, you risk losing out on top talent.

What is Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is when a mother stops working following the birth of a baby. Employers should expect time off requests once their employee expects of a pregnancy. It is common for mothers to request maternity leaves before the child is born, when they undergo complications in their pregnancy, or after birth.

Maternity leaves can cause workload issues for small and medium sized businesses because covering shifts can be difficult. However, the pros of granting maternity leaves far outweigh the initial shock of having an employee suddenly leave. In fact, research shows that there is positive impact for paid parental leave for women, families, the economy, and businesses

The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that 99% of employers reported an increase in employee morale. In order to nurse their newborns, it isn’t uncommon for mothers to quit the workforce entirely, a fact that has far more greater repercussions for the company than if the employee was to take temporary leave.

It comes as no surprise that when Google increase their paid maternity leaves, the rate at which employee quit their jobs following a pregnancy dropped by up to 50%. And in the long run, it is good for business too. In fact, Patagonia reported that paid family leave helped the company make three times as much profit as they did before parental leave.

Which States Require Maternity Leave?

For most women in the workforce, maternity leave is not required by law. This could be due to the size of the business, those with fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide paternity leave, or due to the length of time served on the job.

For now, employees are entitled to paid family leave in five states: California, Rhode Island, Washington, New York, and New Jersey. The amount paid to employees and the leave time depends on the state. Make sure to check in with your state for guidelines, or consult an expert.

What is the Ideal Length for Maternity

Mothers in California are entitled for up to 52 weeks of paid leave after they give birth. Similar policies can be found in other states.

For the rest of women, parental leave depends on their employer. For obvious reasons, it is best practice to create maternity leave policies for your employees. According to a report reported by SHRM, at least 60% of employers offer maternity leave, and with 33% committing to longer leaves.

The bottom line is, maternity leave is good for workers and businesses. It attracts new employees and gives new mothers incentive to stay as part of the workforce.

Want to learn more about employee benefits and create a package for your specific circumstances? Get in touch with experts at JS Benefits Group for help.