Author: Angela Romei

Closing the Gaps in U.S. Paid Leave – Our Highlights of New York Times Story, “Walmart and Now Starbucks: Why More Big Companies Are Offering Paid Family Leave”

This is the most comprehensive article on paid leave we’ve seen in a long time.

Here are 10 story highlights – and why this news is so significant to American workers, business and the U.S. economy:

  • Starbucks just announced it is expanding paid leave to hourly workers.
  • This follows the same recent news by Walmart.
  • These are two huge employers of U.S. workers = huge impact in terms of increasing U.S. workers’ access to paid leave. Walmart employs 1.5 million in the U.S. alone.
  • Chart/ visual shows paid leave at about 20 of the U.S. largest companies.
  • Most important takeaway in this news: 1) We are increasing access for hourly workers, not just corporate employees. This is huge progress for equality. 2) Let’s acknowledge the role of the new tax credit at play here. It’s a sign that the effects of low unemployment have reached companies that rely on low-wage workers. Both companies credited tax cuts. 3) This is particularly significant because the retail industry is traditionally known to have low profit margins, making it more challenging to offer extra employee benefits and supports. 4) The tipping point. Industries benchmark against competitors. This news will have a domino effect.
  • “A corporate person having a child versus someone lower having a child, there’s no difference — that child still needs its parents,” said Paris Mendez, who loads trucks at a Walmart distribution center in Smyrna, Del.
  • Paid leave is becoming a gender neutral conversation… men are caregivers too!
  • And paid leave helps keep women in the workforce which is good for business and good for the U.S. economy.
  • Americans are not ambivalent about whether paid leave helps workers. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 94 percent said it would help families, and two-thirds said it would help the economy.
  • Business leaders and decision makers are asking us to “show them the ROI of paid leave.” Here it is: Research has found that mothers who take paid parental leave are more likely to be working a year later, and less likely to receive public aid. It also improves mothers’ physical and mental health; the duration of breast-feeding; babies’ health and development; and gender equity. When fathers take such leave, research shows, they are more involved in their children’s lives years later; their children are healthier; and mothers have increased earnings and better mental health.

Find the full story here. 

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