business news in context, analysis with attitude

Axios has a story about how, "as legislation moves forward to give 12 weeks of paid parental leave to civilian federal workers, corporate America is feeling pressure to follow suit — or at least offer sweeter policies."

The story notes that "the U.S. is the only industrialized country that doesn't mandate paid leave for new parents. While there are federal rules about unpaid leave, most companies set their own rules, with an eye toward their bottom lines … Just 16% of private employees had access to paid family leave in 2018 — which includes maternity and paternity leave — according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's up from 10% in 2010."

However, this week the Business Roundtable "wrote letters urging Congress and President Trump to make paid family leave — a broader category than parental leave — available to 'as many working Americans as possible'.

"Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, signed the letter, saying that 'while most Business Roundtable companies provide very generous paid leave, there is a need for economy-wide action'."

The Business Roundtable is the same organization that, now chaired by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, has opined that companies should not make shareholder value their number one priority, but rather have to look at broader issues, including climate change and gun control, that affect their customers and employees.
KC's View:
I'm no expert on such things, but it doesn't seem to me that there is a lot of appetite in Washington right now for a federal response to the paid family leave issue. I suppose that could change, but I suspect it is a long-term shift, not something that will happen after the next election cycle.

The pressure indeed will be on companies to respond in ways that government cannot or will not, and not only do the right thing, but hopefully provide numbers supporting the notion that a workforce that is treated right can actually make companies more efficient, effective and productive.