This article was originally published on Law360.com

Developed countries across the globe are increasingly adopting and augmenting paid family leave laws, seeing such laws as a “win-win” for both employers and employees. For employees, paid family leave laws allow new parents to bond with and care for their children in the stressful and crucial initial months of a child’s life. For employers, the theory goes, such leave allows employees to return to work recuperated from that same stressful period, in turn enhancing employee productivity and work satisfaction.

Click here to read more about:

  • New state and local paid family leave laws;
  • Proposed legislation for federal paid family leave in the US; and
  • Updates to paid family leave outside the US.

Don’t have time to read the article? Here’s the TLDR for multinational employers:

  • By way of reminder, the US still does not require employers to provide paid family leave after the birth or adoption of a child and is the only OECD country which does not provide such benefits, even for mothers. BUT – note that support for paid family leave on the federal level is quickly gaining steam. Stay tuned.
  • In the absence of a US federal system for paid family leave, in recent years, many states and municipalities have taken matters into their own hands and passed their own family leave laws. Complicating matters for multi-state employers, the laws typically have varying entitlements, obligations, employer contribution levels and funding mechanisms. The patchwork of state laws is obscured further by the passage of sick leave ordinances in municipalities across the country.
  • Many legislative changes outside the US in the past year are focused on increasing father and partner time away from work in effort to encourage families to more equally share child care duties between men and women.

Takeaways

  1. Legal and HR teams should partner to ensure their policies align with country, state and local laws applicable to where the company has headcount. Schedule periodic and regular reviews of company leave policies to ensure all changes are captured.
  2. Communicate any changes to all stakeholders, including HR, benefits and compensation, payroll, tax, etc.
  3. Audit timekeeping practices to ensure the company’s practice of tracking leave complies with all statutory or municipal requirements.
  4. Partner with outside counsel with a wide geographic footprint in order to be confident that you are receiving all local updates and will have support implementing some of the more complex changes.
  5. While it can be tempting to roll out global, one-size-fits-all policies in this area, the various jurisdiction-specific idiosyncrasies and cross-over with other functions within in the company, may mean that, in reality, jurisdiction-specific policies may actually be most efficient and compliant.

Contact your Baker McKenzie lawyer for more.