Starbucks made its company stand out from many others when it put in place a six-weeks paid parental leave policy for eligible birth mothers. Starbucks made this a nationwide policy. Indeed they did stand out as being “a different kind of company” that “put our people first.” (Grub street.com)
However, female Starbucks executives get 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave and male executives get 12 paid weeks. Starbucks considers this difference in paid parental leaves a fringe benefit to attract executive talent to the company’s ranks.
A group of baristas met with Starbucks executives to discuss making the leave policy universal, but executives told them to view it as a very competitive benefits package instead. There was no discussion about making the policy universal.
What Is U.S. Federal Law on Parental Leaves?
A parental leave applies to both parents and is a leave from work taken after a child is born, adopted, or placed as a foster child. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is federal law, parents may take this leave any time during the first year of having the child with them.
The FMLA does not require employers to pay employees for the time off, but it does require larger employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to workers who need to take the time in caring for a new child.
Did you know that the United States, Suriname, Papua New Guinea and several Pacific Ocean island countries are the only countries the world that do not have laws requiring employers to pay for parental leaves?
Given the status of parental leave in the U.S., Starbucks has been quite generous in making its parental leaves “paid” time off.
Do You Have Legal Questions About Pregnancy Leaves or Parental Leaves?
If you have questions, our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to help. We can provide you with seasoned legal advice based on more than 20 years of employment law experience.