by Patrick Ball
Originally published: July 6, 2016
You already know about the so-called “arms race” in which companies are upping the ante on parental leave plans and other family-friendly benefits in an effort to recruit and retain today’s top talent. And you’ve seen the headlines – hardly a week goes by, it seems, without another company announcing an expanded maternity or paternity leave plan.
With so much noise it can be hard to keep track of the trends. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the latest parental leave trends that you need to know about.
Crowdfunding maternity leave is a thing now
File this under “It has to be 2016 to be believed.” Publications from BuzzFeed to Scary Mommy to the Washington Post are reporting on a slightly depressing trend spreading in which moms are crowdfunding in order to have some financial security after giving birth. You know, because the United States doesn’t have a policy mandating paid leave for new moms after the birth of a child and only 12% of private sector employees have access to any kind of paid parental leave.
According to the Washington Post article, a GoFundMe search of “maternity leave” turns up about 1,500 results. The “TODAY” show reported there are about 6,000 campaigns with “maternity leave” or “child care.” Sounds crazy, but is it really? Almost a quarter of new moms return to work within two weeks of giving birth – largely due to financial pressures. And we know child care is the largest household expense for American families. It’s common to see stories of support pouring in for families who use crowdfunding sites to cover bills after a hospital stay or unexpected event. Given the state of parental leave in the United States, is crowdfunding maternity leave really all that different?