Over the last few years, experts promised that pre-pandemic norms were a relic of the past. However, in 2023, it appears that leaders are looking to return to the status quo.
According to a recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, the amount of paid maternity leave fell from 53% in 2020 to 35% this year, indicating that supporting a work-life balance is becoming less of a priority for leaders.
Caregiving was one of the core reasons that led millions of women to exit the workforce during the onset of the pandemic. In fact, a recent study from Moms First showed that 45% moms cited childcare expenses as the reason they left work.
Some companies learned from this exodus, improving their parent-oriented benefits to include paid leave, nursing rooms and access to childcare.
However, falling back on old ways could be detrimental to the success of a company, because without parents in the mix, businesses lose invaluable members of their team.
In the US, there is little to no federal backing for working parents, meaning private sector companies have an acute responsibility to support these professionals.
So what can businesses do to avoid losing some of their top talent?
Looking at companies that have solid maternity and paternity policies is a good place to start. For example, outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia offers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, as well as onsite childcare services.
Investing into supporting employees shouldn’t be viewed as an additional expense. Rather, companies that do so are expected to see higher levels of retention and better job satisfaction.