Paid Leave for a 21st Century Workforce: A National Conversation with DMEC & Employers
What happens when 280 companies get together to talk about the benefits and challenges of paid leave programs? Insightful conversation. Evolving perspectives. Even an emerging consensus.
Earlier this month we at The Paid Leave Project and the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) hosted an interactive, national webinar to discuss a developing workforce trend: paid leave as an important component of building a 21stcentury workforce.
More than 280 organizations nationwide joined the wide-ranging discussion about what’s required to build the business case for paid leave. We were lucky to be joined by two outstanding co-presenters:
- LeaveLogic: CEO Anna Steffeney made the conversation real by walking through the data that demonstrates the actual business advantages of paid leave programs.
- Nestlé USA: Veronica Scalzo, manager of benefits strategy and excellence at Nestlé USA, talked about Nestlé’s experience creating a best-in-class parental leave program.
It’s no secret: the environment facing U.S. employers is complex. Legal mandates related to paid leave programs are being proposed at city, state and national levels. Five states and the District of Columbia have already passed paid leave laws, and more than 18 states are actively discussing enacting a law. Employers, especially those who operate across state lines, often have more than one (sometimes up to six) paid leave laws to navigate.
One underlying thesis was confirmed by those attending the webinar: companies know that paid leave will help them attract top talent and keep good employees. But the path to establishing a paid leave program can be vague and complicated.
Companies may initially be deterred by what they think a paid leave program will cost or because they don’t know how to establish metrics to accurately assess the success of a program. Faced with these challenges, leading drivers for adoption often end up being employee demand, industry pressure or a legal mandate.
Yet paid leave programs are becoming increasingly important. Today’s millennials, who are steering the way toward a 21stcentury workforce, demand more workplace flexibility than ever. Companies need to get creative to develop programs that attract top performers and support their bottom-line business objectives.
That’s where The Paid Leave Project and LeaveLogic can both help. We have resources to help companies create paid leave programs that work for them and their employees.
During the webinar, I was honored to share an overview of The Paid Leave Project Playbook, a suite of tools and resources that help employers successfully build or expand their paid leave benefits. Anna Steffeney, CEO of LeaveLogic, spoke about ways to measure the ROI of paid leave, including employee retention, talent attraction and costs. Veronica Scalzo, manager of benefits strategy and excellence at Nestlé USA, shared what Nestlé has learned and the early results the company sees.
My sincere thanks to DMEC and my co-presenters for sparking such an intriguing discussion of how paid leave programs can help shape our 21st century workforce. This is one conversation that is just beginning.