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How to Prepare for the COVID-19 Baby Boom

The end of World War II was a much-needed sigh of relief for people all over the world. Joy was running high and soldiers were returning home to their wives after months and even years of service. It's safe to say you know what happened after that – a whole generation known as the "baby boomers" were born. Though it's not quite the same thing, we may experience a similar situation as Shelter-in-Place orders are slowly dissolving across the nation after months of being shut up in our homes. It may not be a whole generation, but you will likely see a spike in pregnancies in the coming months. Here's what you should know in case we experience a COVID-19 baby boom!

Parental Leave in the U.S.

In the United States, it's up to the discretion of the business owners as to if they want to specifically offer parental leave, how long the new parents can be on leave, and if they get full, partial, or no pay during that time. However, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) makes it possible for certain employees to have up to 12 weeks of unpaid, but job-protected leave a year. This applies to public agencies, private elementary, middle, and high schools, and companies with over 50 employees. To learn more about what circumstances apply, click here.

While the FMLA is mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor for various companies, the employee search for businesses offering parental leave continues. Companies want high retention rates, and this is just one contributing factor to onboarding and keeping good employees. Many soon-to-be or new parents want to know that their employers will be flexible as they learn how to balance two full-time jobs: parenthood and employee. Offering this flexibility in leave will ultimately help your employee come back ready to jump in instead of dreading the adjustment.

Companies like Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, and Reddit offer exceptional family leave as they allow for extensive, paid time off with benefits continued throughout the leave. Some companies even have flexible scheduling programs to help parents ease their way back into the office. These companies have learned an important lesson: happy employees make for a more successful workplace.

What about small businesses?

We recognize that companies with a multi-billion-dollar net worth have more resources and room to allow for months or even a year of parental leave, so what about small businesses? According to Inc., small companies should not just take into consideration what is immediately affordable but should also consider what it would cost to replace that employee if they decided to leave the company due to a lack of family leave. They also find that flexibility is key as new parents are often thankful for the accommodation. Read the full article here.

Every company has different priorities and capabilities, but we urge you to look past the surface and see what your company can gain long-term in these situations. See what works for you and your employees and adapt accordingly. Be ready to confront questions about parental leave as we keep an eye out for the next baby boom.

These policy-related decisions should be discussed with your HR representative. If you're looking into implementing parental leave policies, or if you need guidance on this matter, please contact us.

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