Job negotiations & leave policies: How much money are you are leaving on the table?

There are countless articles about the best way to negotiate a starting salary or raise. The articles include tips on negotiating base salary, retirement contributions, vacation time, equity, long-term incentives, etc. But, not many mention negotiating family leave. In fact, most people purposefully avoid this issue because they are afraid mentioning it will hurt their chances of getting the job or getting ahead. The reality is that could be leaving 25% of your salary on the table every year if you decide to have a child while at that job.

It’s more important than ever to rethink how we discuss and negotiate family leave benefits. Right now in the U.S., four in 10 households with children under 18 have a mother who is the primary or sole breadwinner. If your company offers little or no paid leave time, you could be looking at taking a quarter of the year off – unpaid. Can you afford to shrink your salary by 25%? Can anybody?

In addition, if you have a job that requires you to meet certain goals in order to advance, receive a bonus, or stay on track with your peers, can you meet those goals in 75% of the time? Negotiating adjusted goals for the years you need to take leave can mean the difference between success and failure at that company. How your company handles family leave not only affects your annual salary, it can affect your entire career trajectory.

With so much at stake, it seems incredible that there is still a stigma associated with asking about and negotiating leave policies. It’s time to get smart on leave, and the first step is asking employers for what we need. Ask yourself, would you be satisfied with 75% of the salary you worked to negotiate in your current job? Using available data can help you negotiate your leave benefits in a smart and fair way, just like any other benefit you would discuss. That’s where List Your Leave comes in – if we care about family leave, companies will too.