Paid Family leave has been making headlines recently, as more and more employees demand more time off after having a child and, luckily, it’s good news. But are policies changing fast enough, and what can small businesses do to capitalize on the high demand and little supple of companies offering paid family leave? 

The United States is behind other developed countries in the world. While an employee is allowed to take up to 12 weeks in a 12 month period after having a baby and their job is protected, that time isn’t necessarily paid. The US is one of the few countries that doesn’t mandate paid family leave.

In a survey from Kelton Global commissioned by QuickBooks Payroll just 14% of employees say they get paid parental leave and according to Forbes, paid maternity and paternity leave is the number #1 most popular employee benefit.

However, that’s starting to change.

In this year’s annual defense policy bill, both chambers of congress voted for giving all government employees 12 weeks of paid leave for birth, adoption or fostering of a child. Senator Chuck Schumer said the legislation makes the U.S. government a “pacesetter” for corporate America. It goes into effect October 2020.

Oregon already has a similar bill, although it is going into effect later. Employers in Oregon must provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave to eligible employees beginning January 1, 2023, under the bill (HB 2005) passed by the state legislature.

16% of women only take one to four weeks off work following childbirth. And the remaining third of new moms don’t take any time off at all, going back to work almost right away. The reason is money – mothers cannot afford to miss the paycheck

A company that provides paid family leave can attract talent to their workplace as it is both a highly popular employee benefit and not yet commonplace. Being a company to offer this before Oregon state law requires it could be a jump on your competitors.