- Greek yogurt producer Chobani is giving up to six weeks of paid parental leave to its 2,000 employees, most of them factory workers who usually lack such perks, Bloomberg reports.
- In a letter to Chobani employees, founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, who became a father in 2016, said the decision stemmed from company discussions about the best way to support new parents at the company. Back in April, Ulukaya told employees in a statement that he would offer them stock in the company worth up to 10% of its total value in the event that Chobani had went public, or if it had been sold.
- Under the current guidelines set forth by the U.S. Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, businesses aren't required to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees who have been with them for less than a year, and businesses that employ less than 50 people are exempt entirely. Per Bloomberg, that means 44% of workers in the U.S. do not receive even unpaid leave.
The paid leave debate has reached its boiling point during a contentious election cycle. Chobani employees now join a group of employees entitled to some form of paid leave, including employees of federal contractors and select multinational corporations. In August, the U.S. Department of Labor's awarded a $1.1 million grant to state programs tasked with investigating the feasibility of both paid family and medical-leave programs.
It's not just an issue for political progressives, either; one conservative think tank has already put forward a proposal to establish paid-leave benefits to low-income workers. Critics of the movement say that paid leave is putting too much of a burden on businesses who are already busy keeping up with a load of new measures regulating employee benefits.
In case they haven't noticed, employers should be aware that this year may, in fact, be the tipping point for paid parental leave in the U.S. The benefit is also increasingly available to parents who adopt.