Oh, baby! A guide to strategic parental leave planning

Oh, baby! A guide to strategic parental leave planning (Photo: Shutterstock)

Many business owners and HR professionals are challenged with managing lean workforces while dealing with today’s tight labor market conditions. When employees are out on leave request extended time, it can put HR leaders in a difficult position. This challenge is only further compounded by the mini-baby-boom the U.S. saw in 2021. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the fertility rate increased by about 6.2% in 2021 — an increase of around 46,000 births. With parenthood on the rise, HR teams need to re-evaluate their parental leave of absence (LOA) offerings and associated strategies to accommodate shrinking teams.

The benefits of offering employees the opportunity to balance their work and personal lives are apparent throughout the employee journey. Parental leave policies are a top-rated benefit for job applicants, often driving recruitment and retention. Paid parental leave programs may send a message to employees that their employers care about their health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life. These programs can include flexible hours, work-from-home and/or remote options, employee assistance programs (EAP) with daycare offerings, and onsite childcare programs.