Starbucks latest to expand parental leave benefits

AP News
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Posted: Jan 19, 2017 4:41 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks is telling employees that it's expanding their parental leave benefits.

The move comes as companies are trying to retain workers given low unemployment rates. Overall, paid maternity and paternity leave in the United States lags behind standards elsewhere. Federal law requires only unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, but companies including Netflix, Adobe and Microsoft have recently increased their benefits.

In a note to employees sent Thursday, Starbucks Corp. said birth moms will be eligible for six weeks of paid leave at 100 percent of their average pay starting Oct. 1. Previously, they were given six weeks of leave at 67 percent of average pay.

Employees who work an average of 20 or more hours a week are eligible for benefits.

Starbucks representative Jaime Riley said the company has 160,000 employees in the U.S. That includes district managers and other employees who work outside its stores. Among those employees, birth moms will be eligible for 18 weeks of leave paid at 100 percent of average pay. They were previously given six weeks of leave at 67 percent of pay.

Riley said the Seattle company does not disclose how many store-level employees work an average of 20 hours a week and are eligible for benefits.

Last month, Ikea's U.S. division said it would offer employees up to four months of paid parental leave. For employees of more than a year up to three months, at full base pay for the first six weeks and 50 percent after that.