There are few events in life more pivotal and significant than becoming a parent, especially for the first time. Yet even in today’s era of post-COVID-19 extravagant employee wellness initiatives that focus on mental health, many employers fail to recognize the importance of providing their workforce with the one benefit that will enhance both employee retention and job satisfaction: a robust parental leave policy.

In the United States as a whole, there is no minimum paid parental leave; employers that are subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act must hold a new parent’s job for 12 weeks, during which time the parent may or may not be paid. As a result, it falls on employers to decide whether to offer parental leave and whether such leave is paid or unpaid. For most new mothers, the absence of a robust employer-paid parental leave policy leaves them between a rock and a hard place, forced to choose between taking time to physically recover from birth and bond with their newborn, and disregarding their own and their baby’s needs by returning to work as soon as possible to limit financial repercussions for their family.

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