Paid Leave in America: An Economic Overview

Oxford Economics and SHRM conducted surveys of senior executives and HR managers to understand the state of paid leave in the United States. This report includes an overview of paid leave offerings and usage, insights into the motivations of employers considering various paid leave policies, and perceptions about the value and cost of providing these benefits.

paid-leave-in-america-300px-1A comprehensive overview of paid leave offerings and usage in the United States is surprisingly hard to come by. To shed light on this important topic, Oxford Economics and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) surveyed over 1,000 human resource (HR) managers within SHRM’s membership across the United States and more than 500 senior executives in the US drawn from outside SHRM’s membership. We also conducted three in-depth interviews with senior HR executives.

This report details the findings from our research, including statistics about paid leave offerings and usage, insights into the motivations of employers considering various paid leave policies, and perceptions about the value and cost of providing these benefits. The survey results also allow us to estimate how frequently employees use these programs and for how long. By examining the actual experience of employers that offer these benefits, we are able to provide estimates of what paid leave benefits would cost if mandated at the national level.

The survey results and analytics presented in this report were completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and our report does not specifically address the role of paid sick leave. While our government’s policy responses are rapidly evolving, the role of paid leave is an important part of the national conversation. Our report likely will not inform the immediate response of our government to the current crisis, but hopefully will help guide a more informed discussion about the role of paid family leave in the longer term.

Read the report

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