Why Good Benefits Matter

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Who wouldn’t love to take a day off from work to curl up in front of Oprah when we feel a tickle in our throat? And what new mom wouldn’t like more time to stare into her baby’s big round eyes (and then take a much-needed nap)? But family-friendly policies like paid sick days and maternity leave aren’t just luxuries that would make our lives more pleasant–they’re essential, and they actually benefit all of us.

– Studies show that workers need a week of sick leave each year to take care of their own health needs, and moms needs paid time off to care for sick kids (and often ailing parents) too. Parents with paid sick days are more likely to take the time to provide preventive health care for their kids, and their involvement help kids recover more rapidly from illness and injury, which ultimately means fewer days off for the worker. sick employees actually reduce productivity, and workplaces with paid sick days experience lower job-turnover rates. (And really, who wants a sick coworker spreading his germs across the cubicle wall?) why then, you ask, are more than 50 million working Americans (nearly half of private sector workers) still without paid sick days? Um, we don’t know either.

Paid maternity leave improves families’ economic conditions by increasing both the long-term employment and earning potential of working moms. Employers who provide paid maternity leave enjoy reduced staff turnover too. And when new moms get maternity leave, it increases the likelihood that their kids will received necessary immunizations, plus it facilitates breast-feeding, which reduces the risk of infection and therefore makes for healthier kids means fewer days off for moms when they return to work.

Parental leave, flexible working hours, child-care help, and telecommuting options lead to improvements in worker productivity and work quality, and lower a company’s staff turnover. Family-friendly policies are just good business.

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