What does the United States have in common with the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Suriname and Tonga? All these countries have no mandated paid maternity leave, according to an international report released today.
“Paid maternal leave has increased since 1995 and is now almost universal,” reports the No Ceilings initiative, marking twenty years since the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.
The United States has not joined this universe, but there’s a strong business case for providing such benefits to working women—and men—as they transition to parenthood.
“Given the realities of life in America, most expectant parents are also employed, so how the transition to parenthood is experienced can have repercussions far beyond the baby’s first few months of life, not just for families and communities, but also for work and workplaces,” maintained Anne Weisberg, Senior Vice President for Strategy at Families and Work Institute.
“Evidence is mounting that helping new parents through this transition is good for business because it’s good for families,” she continued. “To be sure, business practices by themselves cannot ensure a smooth transition to parenthood, but they can play a key role.”
In Family Matters, a briefing by Families and Work Institute sponsored by Care.com on the business case for investing in the transition to parenthood, we review the mounting evidence that helping new parents through this transition is good for business because it’s good for families, and we profile leading practices to inspire business leaders to take action.
One such business leader is KPMG. This year, as a result of new parents requests, the firm more than doubled its parental leave benefits and now provides up to 12 weeks of 100% paid short-term disability leave plus six weeks of parental leave for primary caregivers at 100% of wage replacement. As Barbara Wankoff, KPMG’s Director, Workplace Solutions explains, “We want to send a clear message to all our expectant parents: we want you back!”