One of the hottest topics in salary and benefit negotiations that today’s human resources professional is dealing with centers on maternity and paternity benefits.
As the developed world braces for what some forecasters are predicting will be a significant baby boom, companies seeking top talent and hoping to retain current talent are expanding their benefit packages to remain competitive.
Already Netflix has announced an unlimited maternity leave policy, and expanded benefit programs for new parents have been announced by Adobe and Microsoft.
How will the boom be?
According to BCA Research, the current fertility rate in North America and Europe is 1.65, which falls well below our replacement rate. BCA’s strategists believe that by 2050, that rate will be up to 2.38 and by 2100, up to 2.98.
Their voice is not the only one heralding the sound of more tiny feet across the country. The United Nations’ latest forecast is that there will be a 25 percent hike in births throughout the developed world in this decade alone. It marks the first increase since the original baby boom post war years of the 1950s.
Overall, this trend could be very good for American companies since traditionally baby booms spur the economy to new heights. Bigger families want bigger houses, more cars, more clothes, more food, more education and more consumer goods. Within a couple of decades, the babies grow up to enter the labor force and bring their skills to companies or start their own businesses.
But the question remains, will your company be ready for the increasing demand for parental benefits? Right now, while only 1 percent of American companies give unlimited maternity leave, a staggering 64 percent of workers want it.
In fact, only 13 percent of U.S. workers actually have any paid leave at all to handle post-birth weeks. Not only are female employees demanding more maternity leave, but fathers are calling for more options for paternity leave, especially in cases where the mothers are also the principal earners in the family.
If you want to get ahead of the trend, initiate the parental leave discussion now in order to be able to deal with the upcoming hurdles.
Roz Bahrami is a blogger for skyprep.com, an online training software for companies and schools to train employees/students and measure results. Roz is a regular contributor to blog posts related to L&D, trends in workplace culture, educational training and human resources.