The Caring Report

Paid Family Leave Ranks as Most Coveted Work Perk

Poll: U.S. workers value it over flexible working arrangements

Unum’s Caring Report reveals new trends in employee benefits preferences. Visit here.

August 09, 2018 — CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE: UNM) finds the majority of workers (58 percent) want paid family leave from their employers, including nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of millennials. In an online poll of 1,227 working U.S. adults conducted last month, paid family leave outranks other popular perks*, like flexible and remote working options (55 percent), sabbatical leave (38 percent), student loan repayment assistance (35 percent), pet-friendly offices (15 percent), and pet insurance (15 percent).

“It’s not surprising that paid family leave is the most coveted work perk, even for millennials,” said Michelle Jackson, AVP of Regional Market Development at Unum. “Our recent Caring Report explored the strain of balancing caring and professional responsibilities across all generations in the workforce. Research also suggests that a generous leave policy can lead to higher levels of employee engagement and a competitive edge to recruit and retain top talent.”

Serving The Sandwich Generation?

Paid family leave includes time away from work to help new moms and dads bond with children, as well as time off to care for aging adult family members. While not mandated on a federal level, several U.S. states and municipalities have implemented variations of paid family leave laws to ensure employees have adequate time off for caring responsibilities.

According to WorldatWork, 88 percent of companies think they need to offer paid family leave to be competitive, yet a 2017 Pew Research Center survey found access to paid family leave varies widely across employers and industries.

While most employers want to support working caregivers, balancing the wide range of federal, state and even local leave policies can be confusing and complicated. Unum has created a variety of resources for both employers and employees at a new, dedicated site, which can be found here.

The company also offers LeaveLogic to its employer customers, which streamlines the leave process for employers and their employees across federal, state, and local regulations and company policies.

*For the purpose of this study, work perks are defined as non-insurance or retirement benefits. Consumers were asked to rank the following work perks in order of preferences: paid family leave, flexible/remote work options, professional development, sabbatical leave, gym membership or onsite fitness center, student loan repayment, onsite healthy snacks, ID theft protection, financial planning resources, fitness goal incentives, public transit assistance, pet-friendly offices, pet insurance, health coaching, and dedicated volunteer hours. Participants could vote for their top five choices.

Excerpts from The Caring Report

a generous leave policy can lead to higher levels of employee engagement and a competitive edge to recruit and retain top talent

““After the unexpected death of my husband’s father, he became the custodian of my mother-in-law. We unfortunately were not aware of the decline in her cognitive functioning until he passed, and it quickly became clear that her ability to manage her large home, her money and her daily affairs independently was impossible. My father-in-law had been doing everything! My husband and I both worked full time and had three teenagers, so providing daily support and intervention was a huge struggle. With siblings who also worked full time, and two of the three living several hours away, it required a great deal of creative coverage and scheduling to figure out who could do what, when and how. It was emotionally draining and extremely stressful for all involved.”

Family Medical Leave Act
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year to care for a newborn or adopted child, care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or take medical leave for their own serious health condition. It applies to all public agencies and companies with 50 or more employees. Employees using FMLA must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months or worked 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months.

Paid Family Leave
In early 2018, New York joined California, Rhode Island and New Jersey in providing paid leave for employees who need time off to care for sick family members or to bond with a new child. In addition to these states with active paid leave laws, D.C. and Washington state have passed paid leave laws that will become effective in 2020, and legislation isunderway in dozens of other states and municipalities to implement variations of paid family leave.




About Unum
Unum Group ( is a leading provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom. Its primary businesses are Unum US, Colonial Life, and Unum UK. Unum’s portfolio includes disability, life, accident and critical illness, dental and vision coverage, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury. Unum also provides stop-loss coverage to help self-insured employers protect against unanticipated medical costs. The company reported revenues of $11.3 billion in 2017 and provided nearly $7 billion in benefits.