By Erin Reimel
Parental leave was a hot topic this campaign season: After all, America is one of two industrialized countries with no paid maternity leave (the other is Papua New Guinea). Instead, the Family and Medical Leave Act requires only 12 weeks of unpaid leave with the birth, fostering, or adoption of a child, and only for workers who qualify. But Starbucks is among the companies leading the way for paid leave for workers.
Historically it has offered some pretty good parental (not just maternity) leave benefits for employees working 20 or more hours a week but who still might not meet FMLA's standard (1,250 hours worked in the past year, or about 24 per week, and employed at the company for one year). Now the company has upgraded its policy from a grande to a venti.
At the moment, benefits-eligible employees who are giving birth are given six weeks of paid leave at 67 percent of average pay, but as of October 1, those benefits will be expanded. Starbucks announced the new policy this week, and once it's in place, birth mothers will be given six weeks at 100 percent of their average pay and followed by the federal standard of 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Yep—full pay for an extra six weeks.
But that's just for employees who work in the stores: Moms who give birth and who work out of the store (say, as district managers) will be offered the same18 weeks, with all of it at full pay. And the policy gets sweeter than before for parents in that employment category who didn't physically give birth; they'll receive full pay for their 12 weeks.
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