Starbucks expands parental leave for U.S. employees

Starbucks is expanding its parental leave benefits for U.S. employees effective October 2017, according to the company’s website.

Birth mothers, who currently receive six weeks of leave at 67 per cent of average pay, will be eligible for the same number of weeks but at 100 per cent of their average pay. Birth mothers who don’t work in stores can take up to 18 weeks of paid leave.

The company’s new policy will also provide non-birth parents such as fathers and adoptive parents up to 12 weeks of time off. Retail employees will not be paid during the leave while those who don’t work in stores will receive pay.

Read: How to bridge the parental leave divide

“While we have made substantial investments in our partners, we want to continue to do more,” said Kevin Johnson, president and chief operating officer. “This is one of many steps we are actively taking to evolve our benefits and create a partner experience that lives up to our aspirations.”

Read: Will 18-month parental leave reduce pressures on working families?

According to the Associated Press, the change is part of Starbucks’ strategy to address the low unemployment rates in the United States where paid parental leave lags behind those found in other countries.

U.S. federal law requires employers with 50 or more workers to provide leave, but don’t require them to compensate employees. In the race to attract talent, companies like Coca-Cola, Ernst and Young, Microsoft and Netflix have increased their benefits in recent years.

Read: Coca-Cola to ramp up benefits for new parents

Read: EY enhances benefits for working parents

Read: Microsoft expands parental leave, improves 401(k) plan

Read: Netflix offers U.S. workers paid maternity, paternity leave