Providing paid paternity leave helps recruit talent, and new dads who use it return to work more productive, according to two Arkansas companies offering the benefit, still a rarity.
Paid paternity leave has been on the risenationally, with 24 percent of organizations offering it last year compared with just 15 percent in 2012, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
A few industry giants, including Facebook, Netflix, Bank of America and Hilton, led the way by introducing or expanding offerings to new dads in 2015 and 2016. Saatchi & Saatchi X of Springdale followed suit in 2017.
Miah Scogin, talent specialist at the shopper marketing company, said that’s when it started offering four weeks of paid leave to fathers and mothers when a child is born or adopted.
“It’s important to provide time for all our new parents, time to just bond and really focus and be with their family,” Scogin said. “We thought it was important for both new moms and new fathers to have that opportunity ... then they usually come back to work refreshed and thankful.” In addition, the company offers five vacation days to new parents during the first year of the child’s life.
“I think the pros are that it does make for a happy employee and it creates a good bond with the company and employee,” Scogin said. “It’s definitely trending, and, honestly … it’s a benefit we like to share about.” She said the firm is proud to tell new hires and those it’s recruiting about the benefit.
Nine employees used it last year, and more than nine are expected to use it this year.
Scogin cautioned that planning ahead for the employee’s absence is very important. For that reason, Saatchi employees are encouraged to take all their leave at the same time.
Another Arkansas company offers less time off but began offering paid paternity well before Saatchi.
Three years ago, Rural Sourcing Inc. started giving new moms and dads a week of paid time off for a birth or adoption, according to Chief Operating Officer Ingrid Miller. RSI, an information technology services provider, is based in Atlanta but has a Jonesboro location.
RSI employees can also save a week of regular paid time off and roll it over to another year.
Most new parents who qualify have used both types of leave, and the company is often asked during the recruiting process whether it offers that benefit, Miller said.
RSI offers paid paternity leave because “one of our core values is that we strive to be an employer of choice in each of the cities where we have an office,” she said. “As we thought about our colleagues and their families and how important they are to our success, we wanted to make sure that we were providing a robust offering that allowed for them to take that time to spend that time with family and come back engaged and focused for the work they do for our clients.”
Miller added, “We have not seen any cons … Frankly, the ROI of an engaged colleague that’s able to focus on a happy and healthy new baby, whether adopting or their own, far outweighs the cost for us.”
Miller also said, “I think, in today’s day and age, it’s a must. It’s a basic of benefit offerings, and I think it’s something all companies should look at, certainly in tech, which is a little bit more male-dominated.”