Parental Leave Policies

We asked People leaders across companies of all sizes & industries to find the most common practices for parental leave benefits

While building Knoetic, I’ve had the chance to speak with hundreds of Chief People Officers. This hasn't just helped Knoetic build a world-class analytics product and community of incredible CPOs, it's also allowed us to compile a library of best practices, benchmarks and industry standards.

We consistently receive questions on parental leave policies. To help provide some guidance, we co-led a survey of CPOs in the Knoetic community, and asked them what policies they've implemented in their own organizations.


We collaborated with one of our most strategic clients, Lindsay Putzer (VP, People @ Curology) to better understand parental leave policies across industries. The participating companies ranged in size from 10 to 4,000 employees  and spanned a broad set of industries (SaaS, Media, Advertising Technology, Health & Fitness, Aviation Technology, Software Development, Financial Technology, E-commerce, Marketing technology, & more).

Policy for birth mothers

Summary of parental leave policies:

  • Most common number of weeks of leave offered: 12 weeks 
  • Average weeks of leave: 14 weeks 
  • Maximum weeks of leave: 26 weeks

In all cases, the policies do not differ across state lines - they’re uniform across the US.

Tenure requirements:

Among companies surveyed, 57% of respondents said there is no minimum time you must be at the company before receiving the benefit. For the 43% of policies that require an employee to work at the company for a period of time before receiving the parental leave benefits, the threshold ranged from 4 weeks to 52 weeks (with an average of 36 weeks tenure).

Policy for non-birth parents

52% of policies grant a non-birth parent the same leave benefits.

For companies that have a disparity in leave for birth mother vs. non-birth parents, the birth mother is granted 60% more leave on average.

Bonus: CPOs on other programs they’ve implemented for new parents

Allow for flexibility | “We offer three days a week part-time during the first month as a transition period.”

Parents are parents | “We look at adoption, IVF, etc. as the same as a normal pregnancy. If a new baby comes, then the opportunity to bond with the baby needs to be allowed.”

Workplace support | “We offer milk stork services for mothers returning to work as well as company gifts for all new parents.”

Tiered approach | “We have a staggered parental leave program. For example, months 1-3 is fully paid, month 4 is 75% paid, and month 5 is 50% paid.”

If you want to learn more about parental leave, we found a great crowdsourced document created by Kim Rohrer (VP of People @ Stride Health) to help improve parental leave policies at your own company!

Want to collect benchmarks from our community of 300 CPOs? Drop us an email at :) 

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