Parental Leave: Benefits for Employees and Organizations

The modern work environment is so demanding and complex that many people face challenges in their efforts to create balance between their careers and families. This is particularly tough for women who work and take care of their families simultaneously. The demands of working have also affected men who would like to play active parts in their children’s lives. Despite these challenges, many countries have made significant improvements towards facilitating the establishment of career-family balance among employees.

Examples of steps taken to achieve that balance include creation of maternity leave, concierge services, telecommuting opportunities, and paternity leave in order to allow parents adequate time with their families (Clutterbuck, 2003). Paid maternity leave has several benefits for organizations that include improved job satisfaction, high employee retention rates, low employee turnover, and attraction of talented employees.

I seek to create career-family balance in future because I am a strong proponent of pursuing one’s dreams and building a family without sidelining any of the two. My main objective will be to divide my time effectively between my family duties and career responsibilities. Taking care of family and work responsibilities is demanding and as such requires great sacrifice, perseverance, determination, and discipline to succeed.

This endeavor will be difficult to achieve because the current culture of corporate America regarding the need to create balance between work and family-related pursuits does not suit me. Very few companies offer maternity leave, and in the case of companies that do, majority offer unpaid leave. However, I am hopeful because the business environment is gradually shifting towards family-oriented workplace policies.

The United States government should enact a law that makes paid maternity leave mandatory and that punishes any employer who breaks it by denying leave to family-oriented employees. Parenthood is an inevitable part of life that many people embrace despite hectic work schedules. Therefore, companies should make it possible for employees to enjoy such moments that give great meaning to their lives and that are important for the development of society (Clutterbuck, 2003).

The government should assist companies offer paid maternity leave in case they enact legislation to render such leaves mandatory. The success of such legislation would involve the participation and support of the government in implementing it. Government support could be given in the form of financial assistance, subsidies, and government grants. Several laws have been enacted in the past to support the creation of work-family balance.

For instance, the Family and medical Act of 1993 grants paid leave to employees who need time to handle critical family and health issues that are important to their wellbeing (Clutterbuck, 2003). This act has done little to facilitate the creation of family-career balance because of its numerous limitations that only favor a limited number of employees. Men play an important part in the propagation of families and growth of society. As a result, they should be given time to be with their families and take care of them.

Families are the basic building units of communities. Implementing policies and legislation that support the involvement of employees in the growth of their families is necessary. In order to encourage men to be more actively involved in childrearing, employers should offer paid paternity leave (Wallen, 2002). This is possible if employers implement workplace policies that allow working men to take time off to handle family business.

It is necessary for organizations to create special provisions for employees who pursue careers and at the same time raise families. According to statistics, less than 15% of employers in the United States offer paternity leave to their employees. Paternity leave is denied because long absence from work has severe financial implications on the performance of organizations. There are several steps that can be taken by companies to accommodate parental needs effectively.

They can create unique work schedules that incorporate flexibility, create a financial assistance program to cater for needs such as workplace childcare assistance and concierge services, and develop procedures for duty assignment that favor employees who deal with family and work (Wallen, 2002).

In addition, they can implement family-oriented policies, incorporate job sharing policies into their organizational structures, allow employees to work from home, and create more opportunities for part-time work (Wallen, 2002). Employees who work from hoe have more time for their families because of their flexible work schedules.

It is the responsibility of organizations to give employees the opportunity to work out the family-work balance that best suits them. This is part of the organizations’ expression of their interest in employee welfare. It is part of organizational social responsibility that employers owe to employees. In contemporary society, many organizations apply strategies that promote work-life balance to gain competitive advantage.

The main advantages of such strategies are that they increase employee job satisfaction, foster productivity, and increase employee retention (Wallen, 2002). Organizations should facilitate the development of work-life balance because it makes employees more motivated, inspired, and productive. It is unethical for an organization to ignore the needs of employees especially those who are family-oriented.

On the other hand, flexible policies that encourage work-family balance aid in attracting and retaining highly qualified and talented employees (Shaw, 2013). It is unfeasible for employees to create balance without the support of their employers who determine how hard they work and how often they can take time off from their duties to handle family matters.

Moreover, it is the responsibility of employers to enact and implement policies that guide the execution of duties at the workplace. Family-oriented people should seek job opportunities that provide flexibility and opportunities for creating family-work balance (Shaw, 2013).

Paid maternity or paternity leave is beneficial to organizations from both the employee and employer perspectives. Offering leave is possible and valuable even if it is not subsidized by the government. As mentioned earlier, it is important for organizations to implement policies that attract and retain talented workers. Many people look for jobs that take their needs into consideration and facilitate the creation of family-work balance.

Paid maternity or paternity leave increases job satisfaction, reduces employee turnover, increases employee retention rates, and attracts talented employees (Shaw, 2013). Offering paid leave is very important especially to employees who pursue their careers and at the same time take care of families. Workers who receive paid leave are highly satisfied because they do not lose money while taking care of their families and also get an opportunity to pursue other important interests.

Furthermore, paid leave helps parents overcome postpartum depression that comes with childbirth (Shaw, 2013). The money paid during this period helps families cover their expenses and continue to earn stable incomes. Denying employees leave is detrimental to the success of organizations and the wellbeing of employees because they are the most important part of an organization and their welfare should be one of the priorities of the management team.

References

Clutterbuck, D. (2003). Managing Work-Life Balance: A Guide for HR in Achieving Organizational and Individual Change. New York, NY: CIPD Publishing.

Shaw, W. (2013). Business Ethics: A Textbook with Cases. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Wallen, J. (2002). Balancing Work and Family: The Role of the Workplace. New York, NY: Allyn and Bacon.