The paid parental leave boom continues to grow among employers, as more and more continue to implement or expand on their policies for new parents.

The latest example in the hot trend: Austin Peay State University, which announced recently it will now offer six weeks of paid leave for both new mothers and fathers employed at the university. The policy will begin for children born or adopted after Jan. 2, 2019.

The Society for Human Resource Management’s latest annual report noted the significant increase in paid leave policies between 2016 and 2018, with paid maternity leave offerings increasing by 9% and paid paternity leave and paid adoption leave up by 8%.

See also: Employers zero in on paid parental leave

The Clarksville, Tennessee-based university’s policy is for full-time faculty or full or part-time staff who have been employed by Austin Peay in a regular position for at least 12 months prior to the birth or adoption of a child. Prior to this, employees had to use sick- or unpaid time off.

“This was a significant step forward for APSU, as the policy and funding has been in the works for more than two years,” says Bill Persinger executive director, public relations and marketing at the university. “This creates better alignment with parental leave policy, which allows parents up to four months leave, by providing six additional weeks of paid leave, allowing parents of newborns or adopted children more ability to spend more time at home with their child.”

A bevy of organizations and legislative bodies have been amping up their paid leave policies, including the international law firm Foley Hoag, the state of Delaware and medical devicemaker Medtronic.

Paid leave is a hot button topic to attract and retain talent, Kathleen McLaughlin, a senior vice president at Walmart, said last week at an employer roundtable discussion held by American Enterprise Institute.

Meanwhile, other companies have updated their parental leave programs to be gender-neutral. For example, Estee Lauder in May announced 20 weeks of paid leave for all parents, while giving birth parents an additional six to eight weeks of paid leave. Broadridge Financial Solutions, a fintech company with about 10,000 employees in 16 countries, also updated its parental leave benefits earlier this year to include all parents. Previously, the company offered nine weeks of fully paid leave to birth mothers through a disability program.

“It’s turning into a candidate-driven market, so employers are offering incredibly competitive benefits,” explains Trent Burner, SHRM’s vice president of research. “Employees, particularly millennials, are calling out for unique benefits that help with work-life balance, and more employers are listening by increasing their paid parental leave programs.”

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