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Enhanced Employer Parental Leave Policies Driving Greater Use

A recent Wall Street Journal report found a significant increase in the number of employees taking parental leave, particularly fathers, and determined the main factors appear to be expanded employer policies and state programs.

The share of workers with access to paid parental leave grew to 25 percent in March 2022 compared to 19 percent in 2019, according to the Labor Department. 

Seven states and the District of Columbia now require employers to provide paid leave, up from four in 2018. Four more states will require paid parental leave by 2026.

Significant increase in workers taking parental leave. From February 2022 to February 2023, an average 406,000 workers were on paid or unpaid parental leave every month, up 13.5 percent from 2021, according to Labor Department data.

More fathers taking leave. The number of men on parental leave tripled to an average of 76,500 in the six months ended in February from five years earlier, whereas the number of women rose 11% to 336,000, according to census data.

Parents are taking longer leaves. The typical mother now takes 120 days of bonding leave, up from 110 in 2019, and the median father is out for 60 days, a 15-day increase, according to one leave-management company.

The Bipartisan Paid Family Leave Working Group urged House leadership this week to consider federal paid leave policies stating these policies not only benefit employees but make “our economy stronger, our families stronger, and our country a better place.” HR Policy is working with the Bipartisan Paid Family Leave Working Group in Congress to advocate for a national paid leave standard to ease the current burdens companies are facing as they comply with various state requirements. 

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Authors: D. Mark Wilson

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