- The J.M. Smucker Company has expanded its parental leave offerings, introducing 12 weeks of paid leave for all employees following the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child in an announcement Sept. 26. The manufacturer's portfolio of brands includes Jif, Crisco, Folgers, Milk-Bone and Rachael Ray Nutrish.
- The benefits expansion also includes a move from two to three weeks of vacation for employees with less than five years of tenure and the introduction of pet bereavement leave.
- The company said the offerings are enhancements to its total rewards program, of which the support of work-life integration is a critical aspect.
The announcement makes The J.M. Smucker Company one of several large employers to recently announce paid parental leave for an hourly workforce. (The company noted in a statement to HR Dive that while all workers will be eligible, some may see their access affected by collective bargaining agreements already in place.)
Once a benefit largely reserved for exempt workers, paid leave offerings for hourly workers are becoming increasingly common, and their availability spans industries. Retailer Lululemon, for example, announced earlier this year that would offer full-time employees six months' paid leave; salad chain Sweetgreen likewise offers five months.
Some, however, have said their efforts have gone too far in the paid leave arms race. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in February cut its 12-month program down to six months. The employer said year-long leaves were more disruptive than anticipated and re-onboarding proved difficult.
As long as the labor market remains tight, HR is likely to see competitors continue to tweak their employee value propositions for hourly workers, with some betting on leave, while others focus on internal minimum wages or subsidized education.