38% of Organizations Offer Employees a Separate Paid Parental Leave Benefit

WorldatWork Survey Examines Practices and Prevalence of Paid Parental Leave

May 2, 2017 — WASHINGTON, D.C. — WorldatWork released its latest survey on U.S. paid parental leave today. This unique survey narrowly defines paid parental leave as being distinct from other paid leave programs, such as short term disability, sick time, government-funded disability or insurance payments, and general paid time off leave programs, including any programs that supplement partial pay. The survey was conducted by WorldatWork with underwriting support from Mercer.

"Paid parental leave is an emerging benefit," stated Lenny Sanicola, CCP, CBP, GRP, CEBS, senior practice leader at WorldatWork. "There are numerous splashy headlines in the news about paid leave, but these headlines can be misleading. This survey uses a strict definition so that we can really dig into what is being offered as true paid parental leave that goes above and beyond existing paid leave programs."

According to the survey, 38% of employers offer a defined paid parental leave benefit for use by new-parent employees to recover from the birth of a child and/or to care for or bond with a new child. This leave is distinct from all other paid leave programs and employees do not need to use or exhaust other paid time or earnings to use this benefit. The average time of paid parental leave allotted to eligible, full-time new-parent employees is 4.1 weeks.

While this survey focused specifically on paid parental leave that is distinct from other leave benefits, the survey did ask all respondents about the prevalence of employer-sponsored disability programs and found that, a large majority of employers, 86% of respondents, offer employer-sponsored disability insurance that compensates birth mothers during their medical recovery.

Some of the key survey findings among the 38% of responding organizations that offer paid parental leave beyond the existing paid time off include:

  • 80% offer employees full/normal pay.
  • 78% offer paid parental leave to all employees, while 22% offer it to some.
  • 58% give the same amount of paid parental leave to all new-parent employees.
  • 64% are subject to at least one state/local paid parental leave requirement, 88% of these respondents offer more or expanded paid parental leave than required by law (longer duration, larger percentage of normal pay rate, broader set of new-parent circumstances, etc.).
  • 85% do not distinguish the amount of paid parental leave between primary or secondary caregivers.


"Providing paid leave has progressed from being a social issue to being a business imperative," said Pam Jeffords, partner at Mercer. "Employers are spending time and money to enhance their parental leave benefits for both parents because the results in the workplace are positive. Women, in particular, are better able to concentrate on returning to their careers, without immediate concern about child care, if their partner can take paid leave sequentially at the end of their own."


Survey Methodology:
On Nov. 30, 2016, survey invitations were sent electronically to 5,428 randomly-selected WorldatWork members. The survey closed on Dec. 19, 2016 and produced a final dataset of 386 responses. The demographics of the survey sample and the respondents are similar to WorldatWork membership as a whole.


About WorldatWork®
The Total Rewards Association
WorldatWork is a nonprofit human resources association and compensation authority for professionals and organizations focused on compensation, benefits and total rewards. It's our mission to empower professionals to become masters in their fields. We do so by providing thought leadership in total rewards disciplines from the world's most respected experts; ensuring access to timely, relevant content; and fostering an active community of total rewards practitioners and leaders. WorldatWork has more than 70,000 members and subscribers worldwide; more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies employ a WorldatWork member. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork has offices in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Washington, D.C., and is affiliated with more than 70 human resources associations around the world.


About Mercer
Mercer is a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments. Mercer helps clients around the world advance the health, wealth and careers of their most vital asset their people. Mercer's more than 20,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in over 140 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a global professional services firm offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With annual revenue of $13 billion and 60,000 colleagues worldwide, Marsh & McLennan Companies is also the parent company of Marsh, a leader in insurance broking and risk management; Guy Carpenter, a leader in providing risk and reinsurance intermediary services; and Oliver Wyman, a leader in management consulting. For more information, visit www.mercer.com. Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.

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