Employers slashing paid parental leave

Inflation and a possible recession are spurring some employers to cut back on paid parental leave, the Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 22.

The pandemic gave rise to expanded parental leave as a tactic to attract employees during the hiring drought. Now, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management, only 35 percent of employers offer paid maternity leave beyond legal requirements. In 2020, 53 percent offered the benefit. 

Paid paternity leave has also dipped, from 44 percent of employers offering it in 2020 to 27 percent offering it in 2022, the society found. 

The society's study found that 82 percent of employees consider parental leave benefits "very" or "extremely" important, yet 39 states do not mandate paid parental leave, according to the Wall Street Journal. Federal law mandates that employees be offered 12 weeks of unpaid leave after a child is born, but expensive child care makes this a challenge for most people. 

But some companies are expanding their leave benefits to stand out among competitors who have pulled back.Ferring Pharmaceuticals is expanding paid parental leave from eight weeks to 26 weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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