- H&M announced that it will offer paid parental leave and a "weekly schedule commitment" for its part-time employees as part of its 2019 benefits package in a statement released Tuesday.
- As part of the weekly schedule commitment, employees receive an option to have up to 12 minimum hours guaranteed between the months of March and December. Beginning next year, part-time workers will also have access to a mobile app that will simplify shift swapping and make it easier for employees to pick up hours, the company said. Eligible part-time employees will also have access to six weeks of paid parental leave.
- The announcement comes as H&M streamlines its business more broadly, shuttering its Cheap Monday brand — a closure that will affect some 80 employees. H&M said it will offer career support, including job guidance, to impacted personnel.
Paid leave has moved mainstream, according to a recent Mercer poll — and even employers of hourly workers are jumping on the PTO bandwagon. More than 40% of employers surveyed said they offer workers paid parental leave, Mercer said. Family leave, in particular, consistently ranks as a favored work benefit, according to a poll from Unum earlier this year.
Employer brand has gained importance in the calculations behind benefits offerings. Compensation and benefits tend to be big drivers behind why certain companies make it to top employer lists, and that branding is essential with unemployment hovering at 3.7% — especially in the retail market. Nearly a third of HR execs at major retailers said that turnover has increased since the start of the year, particularly among part-time workers, a recent Korn Ferry poll showed. Better benefits (and better communication about those benefits) are considered keys to slowing that trend; turnover and a lack of proper skill management threaten business solvency for employers of all types.
But paid leave management is not simple in today's business environment, even as it becomes more commonplace. Fifty high-profile companies, including Amazon, have partnered with the National Business Group on Health to launch the "Leave Optimization Forum," an initiative to help employers manage family, parental and other leave categories. In lieu of a federal law, local and state governments continue to complicate the issue; approximately 10 states and 30 localities currently mandate some type of paid sick leave.