Starbucks did something awesome this week and it doesn't even involve caramel and a clever name. On Thursday the coffee giant announced it would be expanding its parental leave policies. The New York Times reported it will now give new parents up to 18 weeks of paid leave. This is significant as Starbucks previously offered six weeks of leave at 67 percent pay for biological mothers and adoptive parents, but no paid leave at all for fathers.
According to the company's web site as of October 1 birth mothers employed at Starbucks stores (baristas, et al) will now be eligible for six weeks of paid leave at 100 percent pay, plus an additional 12 weeks of unpaid leave; non-birth parents (partners, adoptive parents, and foster parents) will be able to take 12 weeks unpaid leave. The company offers benefits to all store employees who work at least 20 hours a week. For corporate employees, birth mothers can now take up to 18 weeks paid leave at 100 percent pay, and non-birth parents will get up to 12 weeks paid leave.
This change also gives Starbucks the esteemed title of restaurant chain with the best maternity leave policy. In addition to being responsible for the Pumpkin Spice Latte craze, that's pretty good.
Having policies like this just make good business sense. Studies show that having generous paid parental leave policies improves employee morale, employee retention, and employee productivity.