Ikea expanding parental leave to four months

Ikea to offer expanded parental leave in stronger job market
Ikea Is Giving All US Employees Paid Parental Leave No Matter How Many Hours They Work

07 December, 2016

But it still falls shorts of the 68 weeks of paid leave new parents at Ikea receive in the company's home country of Sweden, where the government subsidizes workers' time off.

Workers could still be eligible for the short-term disability under the new system.

Birth, foster and adoptive mothers and fathers will all be able to claim the new program which will come into effect in January, 2017.

Ikea's US division is offering longer parental leave to employees who are new parents, following similar overtures from tech companies like Netflix as it strives to keep good workers in an improving job market. Employees who have been with IKEA for three or more years can receive full pay for eight weeks and half pay for eight weeks. But for the USA, the only industrialized country with no national paid-leave policy, IKEA's program is remarkably generous. But in bestowing the same benefits to salaried and hourly workers, Ikea addresses one of the biggest criticisms of some lavish benefits programs-that they only apply to the top tier of employees, creating a gaping economic divide in the workplace.

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In all, just 13% of USA workers enjoy paid family leave, according to 2014 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics cited by Fortune magazine, which noted that while 21% of the highest quartile of workers enjoy the benefit, just 5% of workers in the lowest quartile do. For employees who have been with the company even longer, the benefits are even better: Employees with 11 years at the company can take a sabbatical up to six months, and for those with 15 years at Ikea, a sabbatical can last a full year.

IKEA recently conducted research into what co-workers thought were the most important aspects of the American Dream.

In addition, IKEA US recognizes that co-workers who are not welcoming a child into their families may need time away from work as well. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had proposed 12 weeks of paid family leave, while Donald Trump advocated for a 6-week maternity leave policy. Other tech companies like Adobe and Microsoft have also adjusted their parental benefits. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher and retail expert Zeynep Ton, who studied Costco, Trader Joe's, QuikTrip (a US chain of convenience stores with gas stations) and Mercadona (Spain's largest supermarket chain), says those chains enjoy "high productivity, great customer service, healthy growth, and excellent returns to their investors".

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