Without a national paid maternity leave policy, U.S. firms must decide whether to provide paid leave. But for small companies and start-ups, the decision isn’t so easy. With limited funds, offering the benefit can be a struggle, but increasingly, employees are choosing firms that offer the best leave options.

But there are ways that small businesses can address their disadvantage in paid leave, from long-time human resources professionals and small business leaders who have been navigating this minefield. First, do a cost-benefit analysis; sometimes not providing leave is more expensive than offering it. Second, talk to your staff to understand their pain points. Third, include men in all policies you do offer. Fourth, plan ahead when people take leave to cover projects and tasks. Fifth, be consistent and communicate openly. Finally, be a voice in the public policy debate.

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