Offering PFML can result in significantly improved retention of employees who might have otherwise left the organization due to competing parenting or medical demands. This not only increases talent in the organization but also reduces turnover costs.

Step 1. Get the Facts

Academic research

With paid parental leave, employees that have had a child are more likely to return to the workforce, and to the same employer.

  • Women who take paid parental leave are 93% more likely to be in the workforce one year after a child's birth than those who don't take any leave
  • 61% of women who return to the same employer within 12 months of their child's birth did so after using paid leave

While there is less research into retention of employees taking caregiver / medical leave, there may be significant retention benefits for them as well.

Economic Benefits of Talent Retention

  • Lower turnover costs: a recent review of turnover studies found that across industries, median turnover costs are 21% of an employee's salary. Paid leave for an employee who would have otherwise left the organization may pay for itself immediately
  • Improved profitability: For instance, better retention of women increases their numbers in senior leadership - and diverse company leadership has been linked to improved company performance / profitability

Company Experience

Talent retention is one of the primary reasons employers implement PFML policies. And they've seen results.

  • Google's female turnover decreased 50% when paid maternity leave went from 12 to 18 weeks
  • Accenture saw a 40% decrease in new mother attrition after doubling paid maternity leave to 16 weeks
  • Patagonia, with family-friendly policies including paid family leave, has 100% retention of new mothers

Step 2. Take Action

  • Gather internal employee retention numbers for new parents and where known, for employees with family health emergencies and serious medical conditions, based on benefits enrollment and other available HR data
  • Examine exit interviews to determine if parenting, caregiving, or medical challenges could be contributing to talent attrition

Note: only complete these actions if you are permitted to access this personally identifiable data, which is confidential and highly sensitive. If you have access, keep this information separate from other analyses and share on an extremely limited basis.