Lowe's joins other major retailers by introducing paid parental leave
- Lowe's says it will offer cash bonuses and expand parental benefits in a move to attract and retain workers in today's tightening labor market, according to a statement. The home improvement retailer will offer one-time bonuses in the amount of $1,000 to its 260,000 hourly workers.
- For benefits, full-time hourly and salaried workers will receive 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and two weeks of paid parental leave; adoption assistance covering up to $5,000 in agency, legal and other fees; and will be eligible for enrollment in health benefits as early as the first month of employment.
- Full- and part-time hourly U.S. workers are eligible for the one-time bonus, which is in addition to its long-standing bonus program. Employees in all parts of the company will get the reward, including those in the stores, contact centers, customer support and distribution centers. The news comes on the heals of a recent hiring announcement; the company intends to hire 53,000 "seasonal associates" nationwide.
Lowe's is simply the latest employer to join other retail giants, including Walmart and Amazon, in improving their benefits to better attract and retain talent in a deep talent shortage. Lowe's, like many in the retail world, had little choice but to get in the race, although it stopped short of raising its minimum wage. Notably, it had been the only hourly employer on a recent New York Times list of the nation's largest employers that offered no paid parental leave at all; that's no longer the case.
Competition from other retailers competing for the same pool of applicants likely prompted Lowes to step up its offerings, but the new tax law may also have helped. Companies like Aflac, Comerica and Suntrust Banks, Inc. publicly announced that they would use some of their savings from the corporate tax cuts to invest in their workers, and many others have followed in their footsteps since (though Walmart paired its announcement with a sudden closing of 63 Sam's Clubs).
Expect even more companies to come out with one-time bonuses, benefits expansions and possibly minimum wage increases this year as the talent shortage in retail, especially, continues.