Paid leave supports employees who need time off to care for themselves or their families. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 17 percent of civilian workers have access to paid family and medical leave. This hurts U.S. businesses as well, with the combined effect of a broken child care system and a lack of paid family and medical leave leading to high rates of turnover and lost productivity to the tune of $36.9 billion each year.U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Paid leave encompasses several types of leave that support employees when they need to care for themselves or others. All leave should be paid rather than unpaid, as paid leave is associated with better health and well-being outcomes, stronger attraction and retention of employees, improved employee morale, productivity, and loyalty.
Sick and safe leave is leave for employees to care for themselves or a family member during a temporary, short-term medical issue, such as illness; to attend to a critical safety need, such as domestic violence or sexual assault recovery; or for preventative health care, such as an annual well visit or a prenatal doctor appointment.
Parental leave is leave for the birth, adoption, or acceptance of foster placement of a child that is separate from vacation or sick leave.
Family and medical leave allows employees to take paid time off to care for a long-term medical issue for themselves, their children, or a loved one or to address needs during a long-term absence from work, such as a military deployment.
Parental involvement leave allows a parent to take an afternoon or a day off to attend a school performance or athletic event, volunteer at a child’s school or otherwise take care of a child’s needs.
According to the National Education Association, children whose parents have time to support their social, emotional and academic development:
While providing paid leave may feel too expensive, there are costs to not offering paid leave benefits.
It costs ½ to two times a person’s salary to replace someone who quits. So it will cost an employer $25,000 to $100,000 to replace someone who makes $50,000 if that employee leaves. On the other hand, it costs employers an average of 45 cents per employee hour worked to offer paid sick leave, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For a cost-benefit analysis toolkit for paid parental or family and medical leave, check out the PL+US resources for employers.
Click here for more data and resources to support a cost-benefit analysis for paid sick leave from the National Partnership for Women and Families.