Lovewell’s logic: Should enhanced leave be extended to all staff?

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck

How far should employers go in supporting employees’ circumstances outside of the workplace?

Earlier this week, employee engagement firm Reward Gateway revealed that it is introducing unlimited fully paid leave globally for parents who are primary carers during the first year after the birth or adoption of a child.

Permitting staff such flexibility can be a compelling tool in an employer’s package when it come to boosting staff motivation and loyalty. After all, it will inevitably be difficult for an employee to leave an organisation that enables them to spend so much quality time with their new child.

Organisations that extend parental leave to such an extent, however, still tend to be the minority rather than the norm.

By coincidence, this week I also came across a Twitter debate that raised questions about whether employers should limit extended paid leave policies to parents or whether these should also be extended to all employees regardless of their family circumstances?

There seems to have been a great deal of coverage in various consumer publications recently about couples or individuals who, for whatever reason, have found themselves unable to have a child or have actively decided that starting a family is not for them.

Dealing with infertility and related treatment can be extremely stressful for those involved, so would knowing that their employer has a policy in place to provide greater flexibility around working time help to ease the pressure on these individuals? Given this can be a highly sensitive issue, knowing that they are able to take the time they need away from work, perhaps without having to offer lengthy explanations, may go a long way to ensuring that an employee feels supported by their employer. And being seen to offer such support can greatly enhance an organisation’s reputation as an employer.

So, while parents undoubtedly benefit from enhanced flexibility and more time to spend with their family, should more employers consider extending policies around paid leave to all employees to support all personal circumstances?

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
Tweet: @DebbieLovewell