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Massachusetts Delays Paid Leave Employee Notice and Funding Requirements
"Following several days of negotiations between state officials, regional business organizations, and employee organizations, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has agreed to extend the deadlines for employee notification and contribution funding requirements.... The deadline to apply for a Private Plan Exemption will still be September 20, 2019. The deadline for the release of final regulations continues to be July 1, 2019." (OneDigital Health and Benefits)
[Guidance Overview] Maine Earned Leave Act: Maine Really is the Vacation State
"[A] new statute [requires] Maine employers (even small businesses) to provide paid time off beginning January 1, 2021. The law is the first of its kind in the nation to require paid time off, for any reason, including vacation time. Unfortunately, for employers, the law is short on specifics, leaving it to the state labor department to ... issue rules that will assist employers with many open questions about the their rights and obligations under the act." (Littler)
[Guidance Overview] Maine Becomes First State to Enact Paid Time Off Law
"[T]he Earned Employee Leave Act requires employers to allow employees to use earned paid leave for any reason and could have a ripple effect on how Maine and multi-state employers structure their employee paid leave benefits. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2021." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
College Grads See Health Insurance as Best Employee Benefit
"About 54 percent of new grads said medical coverage is the top workplace benefit when it comes to looking for a job ... The respondents said paid time off was the second benefit they most desired, followed by student loan forgiveness ... Another 38 percent of young job seekers said working remotely was a work perk they looked for." (Fox Business)
Elder Care Benefits: A Growing Need for the U.S. Workforce
"Many employers currently offer an employee assistance program (EAP) which provides employees and household members with educational and referral services for elder care.... Dependent Care Assistance Plans (DCAP) ... allow employees to set aside tax-free dollars for qualified elder care.... Backup elder care benefits ... can also be incredibly useful to employees.... New vendors are also entering the marketplace[.]" (Voya)
Creating a Bereavement Leave Policy for Your Company
"What type of bereavement leave should you offer and how much? Who will be eligible for leave? How should employees notify you of their need for leave? Answering those types of questions in a comprehensive bereavement leave policy helps you manage employees' expectations and respond to leave requests when the time arises. So, what should you include in your bereavement leave policy?" (HR Daily Advisor)
Your Anti-Work-from-Home Policy May Be Costing You a Fortune
"[N]early half of employees surveyed said a prospective employer's remote work policy is considered an important factor when looking for a job.... [Of] those who wish their current companies allowed remote work scenarios, 37% have considered looking for a job that does, and 14% are actively looking.... 40% of employees said they'd consider taking a pay cut for the option to work remotely.... 53% of employees surveyed say they will switch jobs if a new employer offers them the option to work from home at least some of the time, while 31% of employees said they'd switch jobs if a new employer offered them the option to work from home." (HR Daily Advisor)
New York Employees Now Eligible for Paid Voting Leave
"[T]he new law ... [allows] employees to request up to three hours of paid time off to vote, regardless of their work schedule. Previously, the law provided that an employee was entitled to time off only if the employee did not have four consecutive hours in which to vote between the opening of polls and the beginning of the employee's work shift, or the end of the employee's work shift and the close of polls.... The new law also relaxes employees' notice requirement." (Proskauer)
New York Employers Must Increase Paid Leave for All Voters
"Effective immediately, New York's amended voting leave law requires employers to provide employees with 'up to three' hours of paid time off to vote at 'any election.' Further, employers must post a notice in the workplace outlining employees' rights under this new law not less than ten working days before every election." (Fox Rothschild LLP)
Nonstandard Work Arrangements and Older Americans, 2005-2017
"Among independent contractors, the share who were ages 55-64 increased from 18.8 percent to 22.9 percent; for those ages 65+, the share increased from 8.5 percent to 14.1 percent. In other words, 37 percent of independent contractors were older workers in 2017, up almost 10 percentage points since 2005." (Economic Policy Institute)
Caregiving Benefit Resources and Tips for Employers
"In 2013, approximately 40 million family caregivers in the United States provided an estimated 37 billion hours of care. The estimated value of their unpaid service was approximately $470 billion. Many caregivers are in the 45 to 64 year-old age group.... Nearly 17 percent of today's workforce in the United States provides some level of care for a family member or friend." (The Alliance)
Paid Time Off Plans: IRS Guidelines and Why They Matter
"The IRS appears to generally require that the earned time being paid out be substantially less than the accrued earned time owed to the employee. This is to ensure that the earned time program remains a bona fide sick or vacation pay plan and not a plan of deferred compensation. This particular requirement can get tricky and may be different in each employer's case." (Berry Dunn)
Unlimited Vacation: Wave of the Future or Potential Liability?
"[In] Illinois, like a number of states, employers are required to keep track of employees' work hours as well as their vacation or PTO accruals and usage. The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act requires employers to pay employees for any accrued, unused vacation or PTO remaining to them at the time of termination. But how does that work with an 'unlimited' PTO policy?" (Franczek Radelet P.C.)
Trends in Disability and Leaves of Absence: New Solutions to Old Problems (PDF)
"Three key areas of development should give employers hope: ... [1] Employers have more and better administration options than ever before.... [2] As complex as the leave landscape is getting, new technology is helping to change some of the rules of the road.... [3] Employers are experimenting with new and innovative types of leave that can have a real impact on the lives of their employees." (Benefits Quarterly, published by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS])
NYC Mayor Proposes Mandatory Vacation Time for Workers
"The mayor plans to pursue legislation that would require private employers with five or more employees to provide employees with up to 10 days of paid time off per year.... This paid personal time would be in addition to the five days of paid sick leave already provided to workers under the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act, which took effect in 2014." (Fisher Phillips)
Supporting a 'Careforce' (PDF)
"More than one in six U.S. employees are engaged in informal caregiving for a family member ... Caregiving impacts employee absence, work performance and employee health care costs.... Supporting a careforce is about much more than paid leave. This article discusses approaches employers are taking now and might take in the future as they assume the role of caretaker." (Benefits Quarterly, published by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS])
Vacation Bonuses: Some Employers Paying Workers to Chill
"More than half of Americans left paid vacation days unused in 2017, adding up to 705 million unused days ... In 2016, American employers held a $272 billion vacation liability on their balance sheets ... The U.S. Travel Association, which sponsors the Project Time Off initiative, pays its employees $500 just to take all their vacation for the year. In 2014, the first year the benefit was offered, the association went from having 19 percent of employees using all of their leave to 91 percent. The cost was $26,000 to give the bonuses, and the association cut its vacation liabilities by over $36,000[.]" (Bloomberg BNA)
The Evolving Definition of Work-Life Balance
"Work-life balance means something a little different to everyone.... [T]he knowledge and approach of work-life balance has been constantly evolving, and it might be helpful for employers to identify the difference in opinions among the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials." (Voya)
Are Leave-Sharing Plans a Good Idea?
"[S]tates have their own laws addressing which types of leave can be donated to leaving-sharing programs, so you should begin by examining applicable state law. Such laws typically focus on whether the PTO is 'accrued' or 'vested.'... Federal law doesn't prohibit employers from implementing leave-sharing programs. The predominant issue under federal law involves certain tax consequences." (HR Daily Advisor)
Employers and Employees Embrace Automation But Fear Loss of Workplace Humanity
"More than half (56 percent) of employers have a positive view of automation technologies that can help companies do human jobs, compared with 20 percent who are pessimistic ... On the employee side, nearly half (49 percent) are optimistic, while only a quarter (24 percent) are pessimistic.... Still, both employers and their workers have trouble reconciling their optimism around automation with their desire for human connection. About half of both groups (46 percent of employees, and 51 percent of employers) worry the workplace is becoming less human." (MetLife)
[Guidance Overview] DOL Issues Opinion Letter Allowing Employers to Avoid Payment for Excessive 15-Minute FMLA Breaks; Employers Yawn
"In a situation where an employee requires eight 15-minute breaks per day as a result of the employee's serious health condition, the DOL determined that the breaks were primarily for the benefit of the employee. Therefore, they are not compensable.... The DOL reminded employers that these employees must be compensated for the same number of breaks taken by co-workers." (FMLA Insights)
[Guidance Overview] Does Anything Good Happen After Midnight? Austin, Texas Adopts Paid Sick Leave
"At approximately 1:00 a.m. CST on February 16, 2018, the Austin, Texas City Council approved an ordinance establishing a paid sick leave requirement that will apply to all private employers located within the City.... Employees are covered by the ordinance if they perform at least 80 hours of work for pay annually within the City of Austin.... [E]mployees are entitled to earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked in the City. Sick time will begin accruing when employment commences or when the ordinance takes effect, whichever is later." (Littler)
[Guidance Overview] New Year's Surprise: Seattle Changes Paid Sick Leave Law at Last Minute
"[T]he city of Seattle has ... [amended] its Paid Sick and Safe Ordinance just this week ... Now even just one Seattle employee is enough.... [T]he law now clearly prohibits you from requiring employees to find someone to cover their shifts.... Waiting period for use reduced to 90 days.... Waivers are no longer viable, except for provisions of the Seattle law that are more generous than the state's new requirements ... You may no longer cap an employee's annual use of paid sick or save leave.... New definition of 'family.' ... Exempt employees still covered." (Fisher Phillips)
Retirement's Revolving Door: Why Some Workers Can't Call It Quits
"39 percent of Americans 65 and older who are currently employed had previously retired. And more than half of those 50 and older who are not working and not searching for work said they would work if the 'right opportunity came along' ... This isn't about older folks returning to work because they need the dough. This is about older folks returning to work because they miss the challenges, the accomplishments and, most important, the collegiality." (Kaiser Health News)
America's Aging Workforce: Opportunities and Challenges (PDF)
53 pages. "This report provides a summary of the landscape of the aging workforce and key findings related to aging workers as well as employers. The report concludes with a vision of how aging employees and their employers can work together to ensure that they both prosper." (Special Committee on Aging, U.S. Senate)
Vacation: All They Ever Wanted
"90 percent of employees would choose extra vacation days (or a bonus) over a workplace holiday party.... [On] average, salaried employees in the U.S. with paid-time-off plans receive 17 days after one year of service, 22 days after five years, 25 days after 10 years of service and 28 days after 20 years (this includes vacation, sick days, etc.).... Most employers let workers carry over their paid leave time from one year to the next[.]" (HRE Daily)
Workflex in the 21st Century Act Could Modernize ERISA with Telecommuting, Job-Sharing, and More
"[T]he Workflex in the 21st Century Act ... would allow employers to create an ERISA plan, known as a qualified flexible workplace arrangement plan, to offer employees a combination of guaranteed paid leave and increased work flexibility options. If an employer elects to offer a plan, the employer would be required to offer full-time and part-time employees at least a guaranteed minimum level of paid leave, basing the amount on both the employer's size and the amount of service the employee had provided to the company." (Ogletree Deakins)
Employer Tools to Support Working Caregivers
"Already, nearly 1 in 6 employees in the US also provides care to parents, siblings, children, relatives, or friends. Half of today's working caregivers are Millennials and GenXers. Further, these numbers are projected to grow, with far more people needing care than those available to provide the care. We've learned that caregiving benefits can be powerful retention tools for employers, and supporting working caregivers doesn't have to be expensive." (Northeast Business Group on Health [NEBGH])
Workers Willing to Compromise on Salary for the Right Benefits, Culture, and Growth Opportunities
"Benefits are almost as important as culture when considering a job offer, with a signing bonus and financial support for training topping the 'most wanted' list. Employers who offer health and dental, 401k contributions, and paid vacation time are probably not standing out from the crowd. Three-quarters of employers offer health and dental and two-thirds offer 401k and 3+ weeks of paid vacation." (HR Daily Advisor)
Nearly One-Third of Employers Offer Vacation Time Donation
"30 percent of employers with paid vacation allow workers to donate paid vacation days; 28 percent of employers offering paid-time-off (PTO) plans allow workers to donate paid time off; and 22 percent of employers who provide paid sick leave allow workers to donate sick leave.... 3 percent of those offering PTO and less than 1 percent of those offering vacation time, allow employees to donate the cash value of unused paid time off to charitable organizations." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
Retiring (Again and Again) in America
"[G]rowing numbers of Americans are retiring from careers they've held for most of their lives and then returning to them, usually as part-time or contract workers. Even more are finding new jobs after a pause of months or years. In fact, a retirement that occurs just once and continues for the rest of one's life is becoming the exception." (Bloomberg)
Paying PTO Forward
"30 percent of employers that offer paid vacation allow workers to donate paid vacation days to colleagues who are dealing with a catastrophic illness or personal emergency, for example.... 28 percent of companies with paid-time-off plans [say] they permit employees to donate paid time off. Twenty-two percent of organizations that provide paid sick leave allow workers to donate sick leave.... While the pros to implementing a paid-time-off donation policy are indeed many, there are still many factors to consider before doing so." (Human Resource Executive Online)
Caregiving and the Workplace: Employer Benchmarking Survey (PDF)
16 pages. "NEBGH undertook a survey in June 2017 designed to gauge awareness and attitudes about caregiving as an issue for employers and their employees; gather more detailed information about the kinds of leave policies, benefits and programs employers have put in place to support caregivers; and understand the barriers that prevent organizations from becoming more 'caregiver friendly.' The survey also asks about factors that would make a compelling case for investment in supporting caregivers, and what tops employers' wish lists in terms of what they'd like to put in place if they could." (Northeast Business Group on Health [NEBGH])
Employers Look to Reduce Work-From-Home Options, But Job Candidates Not on Board
"While there is a trend among some larger companies of bringing remote workers back into corporate offices, candidates still expect work from home options ... Increased collaboration, creativity, mentoring and innovation are employers' intent, but they may be alienating top talent in the executive, managerial and professional labor market -- a sector that is candidate-driven and challenged by talent shortages across many industries." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Provides Relief for Employer Leave-Based Donations
"Following the donation of time, employers may make cash donations, on behalf of employees that have donated their time, to charitable organizations and deduct these payments as charitable contributions under IRC Section 170 as opposed to a trade or business expense under IRC Section 162.... [T]he donation by the employee is not deductible as a charitable contribution on an individual basis.... [T]he donated leave or a check for the value of the donated leave will not be considered taxable income to the qualified disaster victims who are the recipients of this type of donation." (WithumSmith+Brown, PC)
How to Navigate the Unlimited Vacation Landscape
"While this may seem like a dream come true for employees, it has employers scratching their heads wondering how this benefit works logistically. The concern is whether or not employees will abuse the privilege and if it brings tangible benefits to the employer.... Here are some suggestions to help you navigate the world of unlimited vacation." (PayScale)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Permits Employees to Donate Paid Leave to Harvey and Irma Victims, Without the Tax Consequences (PDF)
"To avoid tax consequences to the donating employees, the employer's donations must ... [1] Go to one or more charitable organizations described in Tax Code section 170(c). [2] Go specifically toward the relief of the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and/or Irma. [3] Be made before January 1, 2019." (Lockton)
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Notice 2017-52: Treatment of Amounts Paid to Section 170(c) Organizations Under Employer Leave-Based Donation Programs to Aid Victims of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irma (PDF)
"The [IRS] will not assert that cash payments an employer makes to Section 170(c) organizations in exchange for vacation, sick, or personal leave that its employees elect to forgo constitute gross income or wages of the employees if the payments are: [1] made to the Section 170(c) organizations for the relief of victims of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irma; and [2] paid to the Section 170(c) organizations before January 1, 2019. Similarly, the Service will not assert that the opportunity to make such an election results in constructive receipt of gross income or wages for employees." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma: What Kind of Relief May Employers Offer to Affected Employees? (PDF)
"Qualified Disaster Relief Payments ... Paid leave and working condition fringes ... Charitable contributions ... Leave sharing programs ... Traps for employers ... Retirement plan relief." (Epstein Becker Green)
Bereavement Leave: Does One Policy Fit All?
"94.2% of all responding member organizations provide some type of paid bereavement leave, either through a separate bereavement leave policy or a paid-time off (PTO) program for their workers. Although most organizations offer at least some type of paid bereavement leave, the number of paid days away from the office varies greatly among organizations and is dependent on the employee's relationship to the deceased. Policies may not address whether the deceased was the parent of the employee's children or the ages of the children." (International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans [IFEBP])
Hoping for a Phased Retirement? Don't Count on It
"Only 31% of the employers Transamerica surveyed let their employees shift from full-time to part-time and just 27% allow them to take on positions that are less stressful or demanding so they can glide into retirement.... [Yet] 71% of employers Transamerica surveyed said they believe they are 'aging-friendly' and said they offer opportunities, work arrangements and training and tools needed for employees of all ages to be successful[.]" (Forbes)
Phased Retirement Programs, Although Uncommon, Provide Flexibility for Workers and Employers
"In this report, GAO examines [1] recent trends in the labor force participation of older workers, [2] the extent to which employers have adopted phased retirement programs and what type of employers offer them, and [3] what challenges and benefits, if any, exist in designing and operating phased retirement programs." [GAO-17-536, July 20, 2017] (U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO])
Caregiving's Impact Growing in Importance to Employers (PDF)
"Caregiving ranks among the top ten employee health and wellness benefits priorities for most employers ... More than three-quarters of employers surveyed agree that caregiving will grow in importance to their companies over the next five years." (Northeast Business Group on Health [NEBGH] and AARP)
When Switching to Unlimited PTO, Coordinate with FMLA
"When switching to unlimited paid time off (PTO) for the C-suite, employers should consider their [FMLA] obligations to ensure that FMLA time off, which is typically unpaid, doesn't become 12 weeks of paid leave, management attorneys recommend. And before unlimited PTO takes effect, employers should decide whether to pay out remaining accrued leave or offer a grace period during which employees can use that accrued leave." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
The 'Gig Economy' Leaves Some Working Americans Financially Vulnerable
11 pages. "The most talked about benefit of of working part-time is flexibility ... Part-time work also allows people to try a few different jobs before deciding what career they want to pursue full-time ... The downside is that most part-time jobs in the U.S. come with no insurance or retirement savings benefits: Only 32% of part-timers say they receive such benefits compared to 87% of full-time workers." (Guardian)
Let's Make an 'I-Deal'? When Employees Want Special Benefit Arrangements
"Employees often try to negotiate with their employers arrangements that take into account their individual needs -- such as asking for more-flexible work hours, a reduced workload, more pay or special training. These arrangements ... are sometimes in the interest of both the employee and employer, especially if such deals make employees more motivated and committed to their jobs.... [Co-workers] are more likely to understand when a company grants nonfinancial benefits because of an employee's personal needs ... Justifying financial rewards, however, is more difficult[.]" (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
More Companies Now Offer a 'Summer Friday' Perk
"42 percent of companies now officially sanction starting the weekend early, a doubling of the percentage who offered the benefit in 2015, when 21 percent of companies said they did so.... As flexible work arrangements have grown and the average office worker is just a text or phone call away, many people already duck out early on Friday afternoons, especially before long holiday weekends. Making it official gives the company a way to plug their generosity without spending much at all." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)
[Guidance Overview] Is Your California Public Agency Aware of These Lesser-Known Job-Protected Leaves?
"Many public agencies are familiar with the well-known reasons why an employee can take time off of work, such as for paid sick leave, family and medical leave, disability or industrial injury leave, and jury duty leave. However, in California, there are a few 'lesser-known' leaves that often get overlooked. These leaves include School Activities Leave; Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking; and Leave to Perform Emergency Duties or Attend Related Training." (Liebert Cassidy Whitmore)
The Caregiving Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers (PDF)
24 pages. "[T]oday more than one in six American workers is a caregiver, a number which will surely increase over time.... Employers face caregiving-related costs resulting from: Absenteeism.... Lost productivity.... Increased healthcare costs.... Recruiting and training new staff costs ... It's been estimated that all these factors combined equal a loss of almost $38 billion each year for employers." (Northeast Business Group on Health [NEBGH])
[Opinion] ERIC Comments on Maryland's Proposed Paid Leave Bills
"Rather than impose additional layers of regulation and costly complexity on companies that are already offering generous paid leave to their workforce, legislators should instead exempt employers from additional regulation if they offer more paid leave days/hours than is required by the law. This approach gets to the heart of the concern that workers in the state are not provided a certain amount of paid leave." (The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC])
Employers' Perspectives on Delayed Retirement
18 pages. "This [article] examines the employer perspective on how to respond to the needs and desires of older workers to delay or prolong the transition from full-time employment to complete retirement. What factors influence the willingness of firms to retain older workers? Can firms develop transitional employment contracts so workers can shift to new areas, perhaps with less responsibility and lower compensation, while remaining with their career employers?" (Upjohn Institute)
Taking Phased Retirement Options to the Next Level
"Employers have long developed ad hoc arrangements with some older workers who, approaching the end of their careers, are looking to phase into retirement instead of making an abrupt break.... Less clear is whether employers are willing to make such arrangements more widely available to workers throughout their organizations. A study of 14,400 active and 1,600 retired employees ... found that: 55 percent of employees age 55 and older want to retire gradually. Only 27 percent say that their employers offer the ability to wind down by shifting to part-time work as they age." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
[Guidance Overview] A New Primer on Voting Leave Requirements: Are You Ready for the Elections?
"[V]oter participation in [this year's] elections may be higher than expected. If so, employers may receive more requests for voting leave than they have in prior years. [This] overview of state voting leave laws will arm employers with a basic knowledge of voting leave rights and prepare them for a potential onslaught of leave requests[.]" (Ogletree Deakins)
[Guidance Overview] A New Primer on Voting Leave Requirements: Are You Ready for the Elections?
"[V]oter participation in [this year's] elections may be higher than expected. If so, employers may receive more requests for voting leave than they have in prior years. [This] overview of state voting leave laws will arm employers with a basic knowledge of voting leave rights and prepare them for a potential onslaught of leave requests[.]" (Ogletree Deakins)
Election Time and the Minnesota Voter Leave Law
"For many years, Minnesota law excused employees to go to the polls in the morning before they were to report to work or to leave early if necessary to arrive at the polls before they closed, but did not require that the employee be paid for the time spent voting. The current statute allows employees to be absent from work at any time on Election Day in order to cast their ballots, without a reduction in pay." (Ogletree Deakins)
When Can an Employee Take Leave to Vote?
"The majority of states give employees the right to take time off from work to vote or to serve as an election worker. Many states also require that an employer offer paid leave for the time needed to vote. Moreover, some states require that an employer allow an employee to take the entire day off if the employee intends to volunteer to help administer the election." (Littler)
Employers Weigh in on Telecommuting, Paid Parental Leave and Other Absence Management Trends
"While 90 percent of employers offer some type of paid sick time -- either through a standalone benefit or paid time off (PTO) program -- the benefit doesn't always extend to part-time workers.... Every industry included in the survey reported employees working outside of the office from time to time ... [O]nly 24 percent of employers surveyed offer some form of [paid parental leave], and only 13 percent of those companies provide paid leave for secondary caregivers." (Lockton)
Plan Carefully When an Employee Asks for a Phased Retirement
"[1] Have a written agreement. [2] Have the employee tender a retirement notice with a specific date.... [3] Make a clear statement that the employer is relying on the employee's pending retirement and will take steps to find and groom a replacement. [4] Specify the expectations of duties to be performed.... [5] If the employee is going to begin to lose authority and decision making, be clear about this.... [6] Clearly preserve at will employment." (Warner Norcross & Judd LLP)
Employer-Provided Quality-of-Life Benefits, March 2016
"In March 2016, 54 percent of civilian workers had access to employee assistance programs. In that same period, 41 percent of workers had access to wellness programs, followed by childcare (11 percent), subsidized commuting (7 percent), and flexible workplace (6 percent)." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS])
Parental Leave Around the Globe: Organizations Expand Policies to Accommodate Needs of Workforce
"[M]ore than one-quarter (29%) of companies worldwide provide adoption leave beyond what is required by law. Furthermore, when asked how they handle adoption leave for same-sex couples, 87% of companies indicate the leave is handled in the same manner as opposite-sex couples." (Mercer)
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