By Terri Rhodes and Breanna Scott
Competing for top talent is a common theme across industries, and it’s an issue many of your employer clients currently face. To help increase employee recruitment and retention efforts, many employers are turning to richer benefits plans.
Paid family leave (PFL) coverage is one benefit offering increasing in popularity among employers. A recent survey conducted by The Standard and the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC), found that 74 percent of employers hope to offer PFL coverage within the next five years.
Regardless of whether your clients are in states where coverage is mandatory or whether they are considering proactively offering benefits, here are a few things to know about PFL before heading into your end-of-the-year sales conversations.
A benefit to help meet employees’ evolving needs
We live in an era where fewer households have a full-time stay-at-home parent and, in many cases, women have taken on the breadwinner role in their families. Because of these shifting family roles, it’s more common for men and women to share caregiving responsibilities.
To meet the changing caregiving needs of a diverse workforce, some clients are developing their own PFL or paid parental leave programs. These programs often include coverage to care for children and loved ones — including parents and spouses — to fit the various caregiving roles played by baby boomers, Generation X and millennials. For many prospective employees who are starting families or caring for aging parents, a job that offers protected time to help a loved one is likely to catch their attention.
Beyond boosting employee recruitment efforts, many clients recognize how proactively offering PFL programs may help retain their current employees. Providing job-protected time to care for a loved one can translate into better employee engagement and overall productivity for a client’s organization.
Not only that, proactively offering PFL can reinforce a company’s commitment to being family-friendly. When employees relate to their company’s values, they’re often inclined to be involved in company initiatives and feel invested in staying with their organization.
For clients who are considering adding these benefits, you can be a helpful resource to help them determine whether offering a PFL program would be the right fit for their organization. Help them evaluate the following considerations:
- Does their competition offer PFL coverage or is it a novelty in their industry?
- What are the demographics and needs of their workforce?
- Would a program like this complement their company culture or offerings?
- Do they have any employees based out of state where PFL is required by law?
Staying up-to-date and compliant
In addition to those employers who implement their own proactive benefits, five states and the District of Columbia currently require PFL coverage or have passed legislation to implement state-mandated programs. Another 16 states have considered legislation in the last year. For clients who already offer PFL in a state that is passing mandated legislation, you can help clients review their program to determine whether their current plan would meet the statutory requirements. Proactively taking the lead on monitoring and updating clients on new regulations passed and providing recommendations on how to remain compliant could help set you apart from the competition.
For clients who decide offering PFL coverage isn’t the best fit for them, it’s still a benefit both you and your clients should be aware of and understand. With a strong push for PFL legislation at the national level, state-mandated employee benefits offerings may change drastically in the next few years.
For multigenerational workforces, the want and need for PFL is great. Whether your clients are considering proactively offering the benefit or their state is passing PFL legislation, it’s a benefit you’ll want to keep on your radar.
Terri Rhodes is chief executive officer, Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC). Terri may be contacted at [email protected].
Breanna Scott is director of product and service development at The Standard. Breanna may be contacted at [email protected].
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