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Employers Expanding Paid Leave

March 6, 2020

By Sara Sosnowski, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

According to new survey from Business Group on Health, a majority of large employers here in the U.S. are working to expand their paid leave benefits.  The 2020 Employers’ Leave Strategy and Transformation Survey found that most employers are adding or considering new types of paid leaves or increasing the number of days available for leave.   In 2019 39% of the responding employers expanded their paid leave benefits with 38% planning to do so in 2020 and 35% looking even further and considering doing so by 2022.

Last year 30% of employers added new leave programs and this year 24% are planning to do the same.  In addition to adding new leave programs, 24% of employers increased the duration of leave time last year and 23% plan to increase the number of days available this year.  Looking even further into the future, 18% are considering adding new programs in 2021/2022 and 23% are considering increasing the leave duration times in the following years.

A smaller number of employers are also making changes that affect which employees are eligible for leave benefits.  Last year 12% expanded the eligibility for leave benefits and 23% plan on doing the same between now and 2022.

“Employee well-being is a top area of focus for employers.  Employers are investing in leave benefits as part of a more holistic view of the role employee well-being plays in workforce strategy.” said Brian Marcotte, President and CEO of the Business Group on Health. 

One of the programs that the survey found more employers to be embracing is caregiving leave.  More than a third of the respondents offer caregiving leave benefits and another 28% are considering offering it in the next few years.  While most of the time caregiving benefits only apply when an employee is caring for a spouse, child, or parent, there are quite a few employers going above and beyond.  More than 40% of employers cover caregiving for siblings and parents of a spouse/partner and almost 40% cover for grandparents.

LuAnn Heinen, Vice President of the business Group on Health, expects the leave benefits to continue evolving. “We expect large employers to continue expanding leave benefits in the coming years, and not just for parents and caregivers. In fact, employers are looking to volunteer leave, bereavement leave, military leave, mental health days, and summer Fridays off. Employers see their roles changing and want to support employees during the times they need it most.”

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