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5 Reasons Why Parental Leave May Be the Best Startup Perk You Don't Offer Forget the splashy perks. Parental leave is a better way to attract and retain top talent.

By Yuri Sagalov Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With so many American companies offering splashy office perks and work benefits to recruit and retain top talent, it's surprising we're still the only developed country in the world that hasn't made paid parental leave a standard benefit. In fact, most startups that fall below the threshold of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) don't provide parental leave -- paid or unpaid -- until an employee explicitly asks for it.

Related: Keep Your Talent: 5 Employee Retention Strategies for Long-Term Success

For startups that have avoided adopting a parental leave policy because of cost, profitability or performance concerns, it's time to reconsider, and here are five good reasons why it could help your company make its mark on the world.

1. Makes you more flexible for retaining talent

Offering a flexible parental leave policy is an attractive benefit to younger generations entering the workforce, such as millennials who say lack of flexibility is one of the top reasons they quit jobs. Keeping that talent is important as a startup grows. Parental leave is a flexible perk that will be attractive to all, especially to millennial workers close to starting a family.

2. Attracts the experience you need as you scale

When aiming to recruit senior-level talent to your company, you want those experienced workers to see that the benefits of working for you outweigh the risks. Many senior-level candidates are skeptical of startups because of the costly risks involved, with regard to the business failing and their own paychecks, job security, excessive hours and hard work.

Promoting a parental leave policy can help those skeptics keep an open mind and understand that you're serious about growing to be the next Facebook.

Related: How to Retain Millennial Employees Through Workplace Equity

3. Means fewer "sick" employees

Some 43 million workers in the United States have no paid sick leave, and employees who do have sick leave but no parental leave have to get resourceful when it comes to finding ways to spend time with their new families. Often the easiest way to do so is by shoring up paid sick leave. This means that when employees who use sick days to take parental leave actually do get sick, they have to come to work because they have few or no sick days remaining.

Having a separate parental leave policy ensures that your employees stay home when they're sick and don't expose other employees to a contagious illness.

4. Helps employees stay productive

Imagine being a new parent. Now imagine all the things you worry about after your child is born. It would be impossible to expect employees to return to work immediately after their child is born and focus on work-related tasks. To maintain productivity for your business, give your employees the time they need to care for their newborn so they can return to work refreshed and focused, knowing that they have a comfortable at-home routine in place.

5. Engenders loyalty

To retain employees, you need to motivate them to want to work for you. Research proves that parental leave policies not only positively affect employee morale but will also strengthen workers' dedication to your company. In fact, 86 percent of employees, especially younger employees, are less likely to quit if paid parental leave is offered.

Building an awesome team that shares your vision and passion for changing the world requires more than just a free lunch or a ride to work. It means showing them you care equally about their invaluable contributions to our future. Offering parental leave is a simple way to do just that.

Related: What Accommodations Must Be Made for a Pregnant Employee?

Yuri Sagalov

Co-founder and CEO, AeroFS,

Yuri Sagalov is co-founder and CEO ofAeroFS, a private-cloud enterprise file sharing and collaboration tool used by Fortune 500 companies to safely and securely collaborate on corporate data. He is also a part-time partner at YCombinator.

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