(WFXR) — Some companies that offered extra and paid parental leave during the coronavirus pandemic are rolling back benefits. In fact, only 35% of companies are still offering more than the legal requirements.
Dr. Nancy Hubbard, the dean of the College of Business at the University of Lynchburg, says one reason companies are cutting back on parental leave is because remote work has proven so effective.
“So rather than letting them use a policy like [parental leave], they’re being more flexible on where employees are actually working,” said Hubbard.
Another reason she suggests is the labor shortage.
“Employers may be pressuring employees not to take leave,” she said.
People in Roanoke say extra parental leave would make a job more attractive. David Watkeys and James Gray say being able to spend time with a new child without giving up a salary is vital.
“The exposure that a father can have on his son or a mother can have on her son is huge. It changes the course of their entire life,” said Watkeys.
“It’s hard enough being a single father with twins, and I couldn’t have done it without social safety nets,” said Gray.
While others say parental leave is important, they believe it isn’t a top priority.
“For some people, it is necessary and that’s gonna dictate where they accept a job, but again, it’s up to you to accept a job where that’s offered or not,” said Elizabeth DiStanislao, a Roanoke local.
State parental leave laws apply to companies larger than 50 employees. DiStanislao argues that paid leave would be difficult to provide for some smaller businesses, so if people want it, they need to search for those standards.
According to Chris King, parental leave is nice, but there are other benefits he would prefer to see for parents.
“I would say childcare is more important than paid parental leave,” said King.
Virginia state employees are entitled to eight weeks of paid leave. In addition, every company with more than 50 employees is required to allow 12 weeks of unpaid leave.