Wellbeing & Benefits

As employers review their parental leave policies in an effort to better align organisational objectives with the needs of a changing workforce, many are offering time off to parents of adopted children. Adoption leave, similar to paternity leave, is becoming more prevalent, especially as the definition of families continues to progress to include same-sex parents.

According to Mercer’s 2016 Global Parental Leave report, more than one-quarter (29%) of companies worldwide provide adoption leave beyond what is required by law. Furthermore, when asked how they handle adoption leave for same-sex couples, 87% of companies indicate the leave is handled in the same manner as opposite-sex couples.

“Similar to paternity leave, some countries do not have a statutory requirement to provide leave for parents adopting a child,” said Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Talent business. “Adoption leave, like other leaves, helps employers accommodate more diverse family structures, which are now commonplace among their employee population.”

More and more organisations are expanding their parental leave policies to accommodate the needs of their workforce. As a result, they are considering “non-traditional” types of leave that include parental leave for part-time employees; support programs for parents, employees, and managers; time off, separate from sick leave, to recover from miscarriage; and time away to care for family members.

Family care leave is time off (paid or unpaid) for employees to care for their loved ones, including children, spouses, parents, parents-in-law, or siblings. According to Mercer’s 2016 Global Parental Leave report, two-thirds (67%) of companies worldwide provide family care leave to their employees. The length of leave is typically a few days fully paid, although some countries allow for an extended period of unpaid leave.

“More progressive companies are acknowledging that eldercare is as important as childcare, especially as the population ages and more working couples need to devote time to elderly family members,” said Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Talent business. “Moreover, they understand that giving women more responsibilities in the workplace is only part of the resolve to bring about gender equality. Initiatives like paternity and family care leave not only give both genders the ability to care for children and parents, but are also valuable tools for attracting and retaining talent.”

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