This is how bonding leave can benefit an employer

The biggest advantage of paid family leave, also known as bonding leave, is the most obvious: Spending ample time with a newborn or, in the case of adoption, helping a child settle into a new home. While that block of time is crucial for creating strong family bonds, it's far from the only benefit when it comes to bonding leave. Continue reading for some less-expected perks, especially for employers.

Higher retention rates

According to research from the National Partnership for Women & Families, paid family leave improves worker retention and reduces turnover costs.

That can be a huge win for employers beyond cost savings because turnover can also have a ripple effect on employee morale (see more below). It also ties staff up with interviewing, hiring, and training instead of focusing on their core duties. The National Partnership for Women & Families adds that when employees don't have access to paid family leave—even if they don't plan on taking any—they are more likely to leave their jobs.

For example, a survey of California businesses found that those with a leave program had no increased cost as a result. About 9% of survey respondents indicated that the program actually generated cost savings by reducing employee turnover and lowering benefit expenditures.

Better morale and recruiting

Do the employees who don't take parental leave feel resentful toward those who do? It's actually the opposite, research suggests. A Boston Consulting Group studied the leave policies of more than 250 companies and found that those with paid leave had better employee engagement, morale, and productivity across the board—not just among those who took leave.

Potential employees take notice of good morale and strong brand equity, the report adds. A robust family leave policy can create a "halo effect" that makes an employer more attractive to both customers and new recruits. The analysts point out that in a 2016 survey by research firm Deloitte, 77% of workers with access to benefits reported that the amount of paid paternal leave had some influence on their choice of one employer over another.

Less burnout

Employee burnout has been a growing concern over the past few years thanks to Covid, civic unrest, political turmoil, rising inflation, school closures, and work-from-home issues. In a 2021 survey, the American Psychological Association found that 79% of employees experienced work-related stress and impacts included lack of motivation, decreased effort at work, emotional exhaustion, and even physical fatigue.

That's led to a greater focus on mental health for employees overall, and bonding leave can play a role in that. For instance, a report by research firm McKinsey & Company on men who take paternity leave found that the majority of respondents not only found it a positive experience but also said the leave led to an improvement in their relationship with their partner. That takes stress off both parents, as well as sets up a lifelong bond with a child.

In terms of burnout prevention, the McKinsey report adds that men who spend time with their children report a boost in happiness and fulfillment that tends to extend to the workplace. Many new fathers discover a newfound appreciation for their employers, the report suggests.

Healthier children

Aside from employer advantages and parental bonding, ample research indicates that paid time off for new parents has a profound effect on child health. That's because this type of leave has been shown to:

  • Lower prenatal stress levels
  • Increase breastfeeding
  • Reduce infant hospitalizations
  • Increase parental involvement
  • Assist maternal health and recovery
  • Bolster family economic security

All of these, especially in combination, can have lasting effects on children's health, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The group adds that unpaid leave—usually not an option for the majority of workers who may lack savings or worry about job guarantees—can have the opposite effect of increasing stress, adding to economic strain, and putting children at risk.

With all that in mind, bonding leave can come with a wealth of benefits for everyone, including parents, employers, children, and families.

The Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) Act covers bonding leave for many employees. The PFML law covers most Massachusetts employees who have earned at least $5,700 (in 2022) or $6,000 (in 2023) over the past 4 calendar quarters. In addition, you must have earned at least 30 times the benefit amount that you are eligible for. Some employers are not covered by default-though they may vote to opt-in. Here is a more detailed list of organizations that are not covered by the PFML law unless they opt in.

To get a better understanding of which benefits and wellness offerings would provide the most value to your employees, download our ultimate guide to winning with workplace wellness.


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