What is Parental Leave Insurance?
If you’ve never heard of parental leave insurance, you’re not alone. Parental leave insurance is a relatively new product on the market but an increasingly necessary one. Let’s explore a few of the reasons why parental leave is important and what solutions insurance can offer.
The Problem With Paid Parental Leave In The U.S.
Becoming a new parent is a major life event that can be happy and exciting, but it can also present challenges in the workplace for both employees and employers. Over 60 million Americans are parents, but the U.S. is one of the few countries worldwide with no universal parental leave requirements. As such, nearly 30% of working women quit their jobs after giving birth. In states that do require paid parental leave, however, the rate of mothers leaving the workforce dropped 20-50%. It’s no surprise that according to recent studies, “When deciding to accept a job offer, 66% of employees said the employer’s paid parental leave policy is important.”
Parental leave is a significant DEI issue for retaining female employees who become mothers. Social and cultural shifts over the past few decades have made this issue more important than ever. “With the increase in female employment rates, coupled with the decline of the male breadwinner family model…entitlements to job-protected leave after childbirth has become important policy measures to support parents” (EIGE).
Employees ranked parental leave as the third most desired benefit, outranked only by flexible work and paid insurance premiums, but many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) don’t offer it. In fact, only 23% of private employers in the U.S. offer paid parental leave in their benefits package, which puts SMEs at high risk of losing their employees when parenthood arises.
Why Don’t More Small And Medium Enterprises Offer Paid Parental Leave?
Though paid parental leave is a highly requested benefit, it can be expensive for businesses to cover. For SMEs, this often prohibits them from offering any benefit at all. Adding to the difficulty, paid parental leave is also an unknown liability on the balance sheet. Employers can't predict if or when their employees will use it, which translates to a potentially large expense that they can’t accurately plan and budget for.
The Facebooks and Googles of the world can afford to be generous and pay that out of pocket, but many smaller companies can't. This puts those smaller companies at a disadvantage for both acquiring and retaining talent.
Parental Leave Insurance: What It Is And How It Works
In the absence of a national parental leave solution, it’s up to the private sector to find ways to support new parents in the workforce. Parental leave insurance is a business insurance innovation designed to make parental leave affordable for small and medium enterprises.
This is how it works: an insurance provider offers the parental leave insurance product, sometimes as part of a larger business insurance suite. The SME chooses a package that covers the kind of leave they want to offer their employees. This includes factors like what percentage of the employee’s salary will be covered and the length of leave the SME will offer.
The SME then buys the policy, and pays the insurance provider a recurring premium based on their selected benefits and employee demographics. When a covered employee takes parental leave, the small or medium enterprise will file a claim through their insurance provider’s claims process. The SME will then be reimbursed for the cost of paying the employee during the covered leave period, as spelled out in the parental leave insurance policy.
It’s a solution for providing this benefit that mitigates large, unexpected leave costs. Instead, the employer pays a regular, planned amount in premiums, and can rest easy knowing their insurance policy will protect them. No more unknown liabilities on their balance sheet. Meanwhile, the SME can reap the benefits of attracting and retaining top talent by offering parental leave.
Opportunity For Insurtechs
With over 30 million small and medium enterprises in the U.S., there is a significant opportunity for insurtechs and embedded insurance providers to help businesses affordably provide this valuable benefit to their employees. Offering a first-of-its-kind, highly desirable insurance product is a forward-thinking way to set yourself and your clients apart in the market.
By offering parental leave insurance, you can help your clients attract and retain top talent. Employees are far more likely to work for a company where they feel supported, and this product is an effective way to establish your brand as focused on employees’ well-being while helping your clients to do the same. More than ever, employees want competitive, comprehensive, and inclusive insurance packages, and offering parental leave is an opportunity to positively impact employee experience and perception of their employer.
Additionally, adding parental leave insurance to your product lineup creates new cross-sell opportunities to boost revenue and LTV with your existing customers, and deepens their business relationship with you.
Parental leave insurance provides an opportunity to stand out from the competition. This is a first-of-its-kind product that is not being offered by many insurtechs, but benefits employers and employees alike. You have the opportunity to get ahead of the curve with this innovative white label insurance product.