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Whether you’re starting from scratch, need help with legalities, or simply have a question or two, the Pledge Parental Leave team is here to help. Explore our resources below, and if you have any additional questions, let us know at email@example.com
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Frequently Asked Questions
Learn More About The Pledge
What is Pledge Parental Leave?
Pledge Parental Leave, or PPL, is a movement started by digital product studio ustwo in NYC to educate, help, and empower companies in the creative industry to offer a minimum set of guaranteed parental leave benefits for new parents, regardless of gender, adoption, fostering, or birth.
For a company to meet the requirements, they must offer a minimum of 12 weeks of fully paid leave and 12 weeks of uninterrupted medical benefit coverage to the primary caregiver, in addition to guaranteeing their job security for six months, should they opt for extra time off to spend with their child. Companies must also pledge to publish their policies both internally and publicly.
What is the purpose of each Pledge Parental Leave requirement?
The fact that there is currently no federally mandated paid leave available for new parents drove us to think about what is a meaningful minimum we could ask companies to offer their employees. Studies have shown the first 12 weeks of a child’s life are crucial for familial bonding. For this reason we felt that 3 months was a great starting point that companies can offer. We certainly encourage any company that can offer more paid time off to do so!
We also believe that while on parental leave, no new parent should have to worry about having to return to work out of fear of losing their medical insurance. Agreeing to continue medical benefits for new parents on leave is one simple way that employers can assure their employees that they are taken care of during this time in their lives.
Job security is often cited as one of the main reasons new parents return to work sooner than they would like, sometimes as quickly as two weeks after their child is born. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) helps guarantee job security for some new parents, but not every new parent qualifies. The Pledge felt that by including job security as a part of our minimum requirements, companies are stating to their employees that they value their families and lives outside of work, and want employees to be able to take additional time off without worrying about losing their job.
Why is target/focus on the creative industry?
Historically, the creative industry (not only in the United States, but across the world) has had the reputation of a terrible work/life balance. 80 hour work weeks and bending over backward for client work is the norm in many agencies, so when it comes to parental leave, even if a policy is in place, the taboo behind actually taking time off as new parents is strong. Pledge Parental Leave is tackling the creative industry first for these reasons, with a focus on ensuring policies are made public and the taboo is dispelled. It’s a small step, but we’re proud to be taking it with a group of partners who believe it’s the right thing to do.
What is the end goal of Pledge Parental Leave?
Changing the future of parenting in the United States may be a lofty goal, but it’s certainly one we aspire to. In the more immediate future, our goal is to inspire and help as many private-sector creative companies as possible, of all sizes, both in New York and beyond to reevaluate and change their parental leave policies to meet our minimum standards.
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How does the Pledge Parental Leave application process work?
Each company interested in joining the Pledge simply emails us a copy of their Policy. If the policy meets the Pledge qualifications, we ask you to commit to posting your policy publicly. If the policy doesn’t meet the Pledge qualifications, we will give you suggestions for adjusting it. We also have a template policy in our toolkit for you to use. Once a company is an official Partner, we will add their logo to the website. New Partner Companies are added quarterly.
How can our company afford to offer these benefits?
The most common argument against company-paid parental leave is that it’s too expensive for businesses to provide. Turns out, that’s not actually true.
We took the estimated costs of paid leave for an employee with a salary of $100k and compared that to the cost, both in time and money, that it takes to recruit and replace an employee.
As you can see, the cost to recruit and replace an employee is about $20k more than providing paid leave. If it actually costs less to provide paid leave, it’s common sense that a company go that route. Afterall, who wants to spend 500 hours recruiting, onboarding, and training a replacement?
What does short-term disability have to do with parental leave?
Currently in the US, the only access some parents have to paid parental leave is short-term disability. Based on the same example salary we used previously, we’ve illustrated how employers can help control their costs of paid leave by topping up any short-term disability payments to qualified employees.
Qualification depends on a employer’s insurance policy carrier’s restrictions and will vary in terms of pay, length of leave, and other specifications. Some states have state-supported short term disability benefits as well.
We’re starting from scratch. Can you help?
Absolutely! We’ve put together a Toolkit to help make it as easy as possible for companies join the Pledge. If our FAQs and toolkit still don’t quite answer your questions, feel free to reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is a primary caregiver? What about a secondary caregiver?
"Primary Caregiver" refers to the parent who has the majority responsibility for the care of the child for a significant part of the day during a regular work week. Primary caregivers can be any parent, and this term applies to anyone adopting, giving birth, utilizing a surrogate, etc.
Secondary caregivers are the supporting parent that does not handle a majority of the responsibilities associated with parenting during a regular work week.
How does "job security" work?
FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) protects a person’s job for up to 12 weeks, but only for employees that work for companies that qualify for it. Employees that work for companies with less than 50 employees do not fall under FMLA’s regulations. Additionally, families that adopt a child or use a surrogate, also do not qualify for FMLA.
As a result, offering 6 months job security to employees, regardless of FMLA, ensures that primary caregivers take the time they need to care for their child without having to worry about losing their job. Companies agree to return the employee to the same or similar position, as long as they were in good standing with the company at the time they took their parental leave.
What parental leave state regulations should I know about?
Currently, only 3 states in the US have laws around paid parental leave(not related to disability leave): California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Earlier this year, New York became the fourth state in the nation to pass legislation mandating paid parental leave. NY’s plan takes effect on January 1, 2018 will ramp up over time. New Yorkers will have access to 50% paid time off for 8 weeks in 2018 and by 2021 the law will allow for 67% paid leave for 10 weeks.
Washington state's legislators have had a proposed bill for paid family leave in their laps, but it is yet to be passed.