Help maintain a positive work-life balance at your company with a parental leave policy

Employees who have kids in school have extra demands on their time: parent-teacher conferences, school awards assemblies, class plays, field trips and other school activities. But if they feel their jobs prevent them from being there, they may feel conflicted and even resentful toward the company.

Suggestions for your parental leave policy

Even if you’re not in a state that mandates or encourages parental leave time to attend certain school functions (there are 15 states that do), you may want to take the initiative and start formulating a policy for parental leave.

If you do, here are some points to address in your parental leave policy:

  • Ask parents to schedule the activity outside work hours, if possible.
  • Require advance notice.
  • Define whether other employees – caregiving grandparents, for instance – also have leave rights.
  • If you operate on a paid-time-off model, encourage employees to use PTO for these events.
  • Prohibit retaliation against those who take this kind of time off.

Keep nonparents in mind too

You’ll also need to consider how employees who don’t have school-age children will react to your parental-leave policy. If they perceive it as granting “special privileges” to some workers and not others, you’ll have another set of problems. That’s why it’s important to emphasize that the policy doesn’t give parents the right to take more leave than other workers; it simply clarifies when they can take leave and ensures that they won’t be penalized for trying to balance their work schedule and family obligations.


photo credit: Artman1122

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