Survey Finds Large Employers Expanding Paid Leave Benefits

February 4, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – A majority of U.S.- based large employers are expanding paid leave benefits by increasing the number of days available for leave, broadening eligibility, and considering new types of paid leave, a new Business Group on Health survey found.

The survey of 113 large employers also revealed that they are responding to a more diverse workforce by expanding paid leave for parenting, caregiving, bereavement, and various other reasons.

The Business Group on Health is a non-profit organization representing large employers’ perspective on health policy issues.

According to the 2020 Large Employers’ Leave Strategy and Transformation Survey, almost four in ten (39%) respondents expanded paid leave benefits in 2019, 38% are making changes this year and 35% are considering by 2022.

Specifically:

  • Thirty percent of employers added new leave programs in 2019.   Additionally, 24% are planning to add programs this year (with 18% considering new programs in 2021/2022);
  • Twenty-four percent of employers increased the duration of leave available last year. Additionally, 23% plan to increase the duration of leave this year (with 23% considering doing so in 2021/2022); and
  • Twelve percent of employers expanded eligibility for leave benefits last year.  Additionally, 8% plan to expand eligibility this year (with 15% considering doing so in 2021/2022).

“Employee well-being is a top area of focus for employers. Employers are investing in leave benefits as part of a more holistic view of the role employee well-being plays in workforce strategy,” said Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the Business Group on Health.

“Leave benefits, especially for new parents and working caregivers, are highly valued by employees and address a growing area of need. Employers are evaluating, and in many cases, expanding these and other benefits to help meet those needs,” Marcotte said.

The survey found employer interest in supporting employees with caregiving responsibilities is growing.

Over a third of respondents (35%) offer caregiver leave benefits and another 28% are considering it by 2022. Interestingly, many employers have gone beyond leave to care for a spouse, child or parent, to also cover others employees may have caregiving responsibilities for: 46% cover siblings, 46% cover parents of spouse/partner and 38% cover grandparents.

The survey also noted that employers understand the importance of being there for employees when they most need support. In fact, all respondents in the survey offer bereavement leave. On average, employers offer six days of bereavement leave, with some providing up to 20 days.

The 2020 Large Employers’ Leave Strategy and Transformation Survey was conducted in October and November 2019. The survey results reflect the leave benefits and strategies at 113 large employers, including 74% with more than 10,000 employees.

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