- More hourly workers, especially in retail, now have access to paid parental leave benefits, reports The New York Times. Walmart and Starbucks are among the number of companies offering these benefits to lower-paid, hourly employees.
- Some disparities in benefits remain. Of the 20 largest employers in the U.S., only one doesn't offer any kind of paid parental leave (Lowe's). Thirteen give salaried employees bonding time in addition to the six weeks for physical recovery, which short-term disability normally covers. Only eight employers provide bonding time to hourly birth mothers, many of whom receive partial pay.
- Of the companies listed, 12 offer paid leave to salaried new parents who didn't give birth, such as fathers or adoptive, same-sex or foster parents. And 8 employers provide the same benefit to hourly non-birth parents. General Electric, UPS and Lowe's don't provide paid parental leave benefits to hourly employees.
With the labor shortage and low unemployment rate of 4.1%, workers have their pick of employers offering the best pay, benefits and work options. Now even low-paid workers, who have been traditionally denied the same benefits afforded higher paid workers, have options.
Starbucks, Walmart and IKEA are trying to stand out in an industry currently struggling to find and retain talent. Walmart recently announced that it would use its corporate tax savings from the new tax law to raise its minimum wage from $9 to $11 an hour, offer one-time bonuses and expand parental leave benefits. Starbucks just rolled out a list of new benefits for its employees, including an extended parental leave policy, a sick time plan (in which employees accrue time off that can be used for caregiving), stock grants and other perquisites.
While the benefits go a long way in attracting employees, simply offering them isn't enough. The tech industry is known for providing innovative, family-focused benefits, such as in-vitro fertilization, but still it struggles with hiring, promoting and retaining the workers most likely to use such fertility benefits — women. Employers that want to focus on retention must ensure their culture is focused on inclusion in all aspects, or employees may not even use the benefits offered.