In The Workplace

Taking The Pulse Of Employee Benefit Choices

Majority of women want paid parental leave, not the 4-day work week

In a new report from Mike Brown, Director of Communications at Breeze, 1,000 actively-employed adults between the ages of 22 & 40 were asked a series of questions to gauge the value they place on an employer offering paid parental leave. View complete article and full survey results here.

Obviously, work has changed dramatically in the last 2.5 years. The pandemic ushered in remote work, which ushered in new employee priorities. We started building work around life, not vice versa. When some workers still weren’t getting this life/work balance, they quit en masse as part of “The Great Resignation.”

As a result, there were more job openings than employees to fill ’em. The workplace power balance tilted heavily towards employees, and employers were forced to evolve to hire or even keep the best talent.

The Benefits Arms Race

A benefit arms race has unfolded. Companies have revamped outdated packages to include the most forward-thinking benefits. The 4-day work week, remote work flexibility, unlimited PTO, pet insurance, ping-pong and craft beer in the break room (when you’re in the office). But in the rush for trending employee benefits, paid parental leave should not be forgotten.

Recent research from SHRM found the share of companies offering paid maternity leave in 2022 dropped to 35% from 53% in 2020. The percentage offering paid paternity leave dropped to 27% from 44% in 2020. A Breeze study from July found 74% of employed women would have no savings left if they went on unpaid maternity leave for 8 weeks. The US is the only developed nation without a federal paid parental leave program, and 9 states have their own paid programs.

All things considered, the need for paid parental leave is great and its value as an employee benefit can be truly meaningful.

Key Findings:

  • The majority of working women want paid parental leave over a 4-day work week, employer-paid dental insurance, or employer-paid vision insurance
  • 60% of employees without paid parental leave would give up social media for a year if their employer started offering paid parental leave
  • 44% would consider a job offer with 5% less pay, but 16 weeks of paid parental leave

Majority Of Women Want 16 Weeks Of Paid Parental Leave, Not The 4-day Work Week

Breeze’s employed poll participants were first asked a series of “would you rather your employer offer 16 weeks of paid parental leave or {insert benefit}…” questions that put paid parental leave against popular employee benefits.

Here were the findings:

  • 73% would rather their employer offer 16 weeks of paid parental leave (PPL) instead of employer-paid pet insurance, including 75% of women
  • 70% would rather get PPL instead of an employer-paid “social” room (i.e. ping pong, beer), including 74% of women
  • 69% would rather get PPL instead of employer-paid fitness benefits, including 73% of women
  • 61% would rather get PPL instead of employer-paid mental health benefits, including 63% of women
  • 55% would rather get PPL instead of employer-paid vision insurance, including 58% of women
  • 55% would rather get PPL instead of an employer-paid monthly student loan payment benefit, including 56% of women
  • 54% would rather get PPL instead of weekly employer-paid events (i.e. lunches, happy hours), including 60% of women
  • 46% would rather get PPL instead of a 4-day work week, including 51% of women
  • 45% would rather get PPL instead of employer-paid dental insurance, including 51% of women
  • 37% would rather get PPL instead of the option to work remotely full-time, including 35% of women
  • 36% would get rather get PPL instead of a 401(k) match, including 37% of women

Social Media Or Paid Parental Leave

60% of employees would give up social media for the next year if their employer started offering 16 weeks of paid parental leave

Breeze’s respondents that indicated their employer does not currently offer any type of paid parental leave were posed a hypothetical: Would they give up social media for the next year if it meant their current employer began offering a 16-week paid parental leave benefit?

63% of female & 56% of male respondents answered “yes” to the above.

Paid parental leave holds considerable value with employees. A majority want paid parental leave over many other employer-paid benefits like vision insurance and mental health or fitness benefits. And while the overall respondent pool narrowly favored both dental insurance and the 4-day work week over paid parental leave, the majority of women still wanted paid parental leave over either of those.

In only a few instances, including remote work flexibility and a 401(k) match, did less than 40% of poll participants select the alternative to 16 weeks of paid parental leave. Even then, paid parental leave was held in high regard because context must be considered. That being no matter how much paid parental leave an employer offers, an employee may never have need for it.

If a company offers a 401(k) match, you can instantly start reaping the benefits. You can instantly make a 4-day week or remote flexibility work for you. Same goes for mental health or fitness benefits, or vision and dental insurance. With paid parental leave, you could work at a company for years and never have use for it.

Yet still, Breeze’s study shows that many employees, especially women, have a preference for paid parental leave. Other benefits can be more tangible, but the financial peace of mind that comes with paid parental leave is without compare.

Is Paid Parental Leave Worth A Pay Decrease?

44% of employees would consider an offer with 5% less pay, but 16 weeks of paid parental leave. Breeze research also showed 20% of employees without paid parental leave would consider a job offer with 10% less pay but with a paid parental leave benefit. When they raised the stakes again to 20% less pay, only 8% said they’d consider the offer.

 

 

 

Methodology
All data found within this report derives from a survey created and commissioned by Breeze and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,000 actively-employed US-based adults between the ages of 22 and 40 were surveyed. The appropriate respondents were found via Pollfish’s age, location, and occupation filtering features. This survey was conducted on October 28th, 2022.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *