The Paid Leave Pledge – Supporting Businesses that Support Their Workforce

By Alison Omens, Managing Director of Programs and Strategic Engagement, JUST Capital and Kimble Snyder, Director, Panorama  

Within the context of a changing world at work, corporate leaders, workers, and the public are shifting their view on the responsibility of business. How are companies serving our most pressing social needs? In what ways can profit align with more fair and ethical business practices? And how can companies support their employees in ways that allow them to thrive at work and in life?

The path toward addressing these questions begins with a key first step: understanding how businesses leading the way are currently addressing these questions, and specifically, through data, determining best practices and the clearest ways to track impact.

Research has begun to emerge to show that running an ethical company pays off in the long-run – including work from JUST Capital tying just business behavior to lower stock volatility and higher return on investment. Good governance puts companies ahead not only as leaders in a changing world of work, but also when it comes to their bottom line.

Specifically, paid family and medical leave (PFML) is an area that Americans want prioritized – 83 percent of Americans believe companies should provide paid time off, according to JUST Capital polling. Public data around paid leave in America is starting to emerge, including how many employees lack access, the disparities across different demographics, and the impact of state policies. But Panorama, which has been working with companies to better understand the business case and shifting tide around paid leave adoption, has found that where we are most lacking in data is at the corporate level – including how corporate policies directly impact retention, recruitment, turnover, health costs, absenteeism, and productivity. In addition, the lack of standardization across metrics creates additional challenges in understanding the impact to a company’s financial performance.

Without a standardized approach to workplace policies and disclosure, businesses have been leading the charge on their own to ensure that their employees are able to support their families and life outside of the office. These first-movers, or high-road employers, are playing a critical role in meeting the needs of a changing workforce –  and so Panorama, with JUST Capital’s support, is working to elevate the work these companies are doing through the new Paid Leave Pledge. A platform for companies to speak out about the changes they are implementing in their own workforces, The Pledge will create greater transparency around which paid leave policies work best within specific industries, as well showcasing their impact.

While many companies have begun to incorporate work-life balance into their business practices, the line between these competing priorities has blurred. Leading on leave means more than creating a policy, it means shifting a culture, and encouraging others to follow the lead.

The Paid Leave Pledge is intended to improve the evidence-base around the impact of PFML programs, and we are excited to highlight the companies leading the way in this work. While data disclosure is not the ultimate solution to improving paid leave in our country, it is a critical first step in ensuring that more Americans have access to paid family and medical leave. And businesses need the support and collaboration to better understand how fair and ethical business practices pave the way for long-term success in a changing world of work.

We are excited to partner with a number of companies on The Paid Leave Pledge – for more information, check out the press release announcing this work.