In today’s job market, it is not always easy to find the kind of comprehensive benefits that made careers so competitive in past generations. So when you find a US company that offers six weeks of maternity leave, it is certainly something special. When that company says all six weeks are 100 percent paid, that is another thing entirely.
And when the same company says that the six weeks applies to both mothers and fathers you have to wonder if they know something you don’t.
But that is precisely what is happening at Chobani. Yes, that Chobani, the yogurt company; and the benefit is offered to all full-time and salaried employees. This is also a departure as some companies who still offer parental leave—companies like Netflix, for example—offer more weeks to salaried workers than to hourly workers.
And if this was not enough: Chobani is offering this benefit not only to parents with newborn babies, but also parents who have adopted a child or have received a foster child.
The benefit will begin at the beginning of next year.
Now, at present, the United States is the only country within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that does not guarantee maternity leave of any kind. This is even after the 1993 ratification of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave; but only employers with 50+ employees—who live within 75 miles of the workplace—are required to provide it. And, gain, this is unpaid leave. Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya said this is precisely why the company has chosen to do this.
He explains, “As a founder and a new father, my son opened my eyes to the fact that the vast majority of workers in this country don’t have access to paid family leave when they have a new child. That’s especially true when it comes to manufacturing and that needs to change in this country and Chobani needed to be part of that change.”
In addition, Chobani senior vice president of corporate development and strategy, Grace Zuncic, adds: “What I value most as a new mom — and a newly expecting mom — is that paid parental leave isn’t just about helping new parents, it’s about our children. Our ability to spend time with them in their earliest days is essential. We hope the majority of U.S. companies that currently don’t have plans in place to support new parents will get on-board with that thinking