Generous paid-leave policies for new parents has become standard among many US technology, consulting, and accounting companies that compete for college-educated, white-collar workers.
It’s far less common among retail and service companies, where there’s often a sharp divide between the parental benefits for salaried employees and those for the hourly workforce, according to a new report from Paid Leave US, an advocacy group that lobbies companies to offer more. At Starbucks, for example, birth mothers are eligible for 18 weeks of paid time off, while fathers and adoptive parents can take 12 weeks. Front-line baristas—who make up the vast majority of Starbuck employees—get only six weeks if they are a birth mother. Dads get no time off.
A growing number of companies are eliminating two-tired systems and have adopted plans that make no distinction between vice presidents making $200,000, and cashiers making $12 an hour, at least when it comes to paid time off.
Paid Leave US surveyed the largest 36 corporations in the US and found 13 companies that both disclosed their plans and offered equitable policies. (Equitable, but not necessarily generous. Some employers, like Publix supermarkets, treat both salaried and hourly workers equally poorly.)
* SuperValu, a supermarket chain, offers hourly employees 60% of their pay while on leave.
Companies on the list say their benefits packages are designed to create a stable and motivated workforce, which boosts the bottom line.
“We want to have best-in-class benefits because we want to attract and retain the very best in the hospitality industry,” said Matthew Skyler, Hilton’s chief human resources officer, in an interview with Quartz. “Great employees begets great service which begets great customer loyalty.”
While Americans wait for a national paid leave policy—the prospects of which are murky, at best—finding a generous employer is still their best guarantee for getting time off after birth.
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