American Companies With the Best and Worst Family Leave Policies
The average American works 44 hours per week or 8.8 hours per day, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some national polls showed even higher numbers with the average American logging 47 hours a week.
You especially feel those long days when you have young children, so it makes sense that employees are starting to look at corporations' policies for family leave and family benefits. A balance between work and life is possible, but only when an employer understands the value that family policies provide for their bottom line. Sadly, only one in every four employees in the U.S. receives any leave at all — but there are organizations trying to change that.
A National Campaign
Paid Leave for the United States (PL+US) is a national campaign to win paid family leave by 2022. So far, PL+US has already won paid family leave for about 6 million workers at companies like Walmart and Starbucks.
Every year, the organization releases a report card that ranks family leave policies at the largest U.S. employers — the 2018 list includes 57, and another 13 declined to disclose information. While places like Google and Netflix have some excellent employee benefit programs, you won't find them on the PL+US list because they have fewer employees than the top 70.
Some companies offer childbirth recovery leave, which is additional time for moms after childbirth. Parental leave, AKA bonding leave, is the time companies provide for parents who are welcoming a new child to their family. Family caregiving leave is time away for employees who are taking care of a seriously ill family member. And personal medical leave covers the time an employee needs to recover from a medical experience and is often also covered via short-term disability insurance.
With all of this in mind, we took a look into the 10 best and 10 worst family leave policies to see what benefits these largest corporations in America are offering their employees. As you can imagine, they truly run the gamut.
10. The Worst: General Motors
Let’s start the list off with the 10 worst family leave policies. The 10th worst on the list, coming in at No. 48 of the 57, was car manufacturer General Motors. While it does offer some benefits in regard to maternity and paternity leave, they’re basic at best. New moms who gave birth can access six to eight weeks of leave, but only if they're salaried employees — so that's not including the company's many hourly employees.
It’s important to note that GM cut its workforce from 225,000 in 2016 to about 170,000 in 2018, according to Statista.
9. The Worst: J.P. Morgan Chase
J.P. Morgan Chase uses the terms "primary" and "secondary" caregiver and requires an employee to "prove" which role they play in their home in order to receive their benefits. New moms who just gave birth can access 16 weeks while new dads can access two weeks, assuming they play the defined roles. While the company did not provide any information on adoptive parents, both salaried and hourly employees can access the leave above.
While the benefits given to employees are certainly noteworthy, it’s also worth highlighting the fact that J.P. Morgan Chase came in second for most profitable company in the country in 2017.
8. The Worst: Kohl's
Full-time employees at Kohl's receive two weeks of time off if they're new parents. According to the company's 2016 numbers, Kohl's has 140,000 employees that work at 1,167 stores and 13 distribution centers. The typical Kohl's associate makes $9 an hour, according to Glassdoor users.
With companies like Amazon raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour, it will be interesting to see if retail jobs become more competitive in regard to pay and benefits.
7. The Worst: Procter & Gamble
The major manufacturer of family and household care products has very basic leave options. Like J.P. Morgan Chase, Procter & Gamble uses the terms "primary" and "secondary" caregiver and can require an employee to "prove" which role they play in their home in order to receive their benefits. New moms who just gave birth can access 16 weeks while new dads can access four weeks, again, assuming they meet the defined caregiving roles mentioned.
Adoptive parents are eligible for four to 16 weeks. It is quite a wide range of time, and the company provides no other details explaining how employees access the full 16 weeks.
6. The Worst: Walgreens
As of August 2018, approximately 78 percent of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a Walgreens, Duane Reade or Walgreens-owned Rite Aid store. Granted, it isn’t the only pharmacy at which Americans fill their prescriptions, but being so close to so many people does give them an advantage.
Yet, they’re still not willing to give much to their employees in terms of benefits.
5. The Worst: Cognizant Technology Solutions
Cognizant Technology Solutions, which provides IT services to larger companies, offers new moms seven weeks off. When larger companies hire firms like Cognizant, both companies can avoid providing workers with benefits they desperately need.
Some of Cognizant's partners include Microsoft, IBM, Amazon Web Services and Cisco.
4. The Worst: Albertsons
For most of its workforce, Albertsons grocery company offers no leave. For some workers who are considered under the corporate umbrella, Albertsons offers full-time moms who just gave birth six to eight weeks.
Full-time corporate employees are also eligible for 26 weeks for personal medical leave at partial pay, but the company didn't release the percentage of compensation.
3. The Worst: McDonald's
Certainly, a huge company like McDonald’s has family leave for its employees? Actually, for most of its workforce, the fast-food company offers no leave. For some workers who are considered under the corporate umbrella, McDonald's offers full-time moms who just gave birth 10 weeks. Adoptive parents who are the primary caregivers for the child are eligible for two to 10 weeks off if they're full-time, corporate employees.
In comparison, some companies such as Pinterest, which has 1,600 employees, have shown they can have a unique policy plan without ignoring most of their workforce. "Pinterest offers 16 days of paid parental leave. This may seem short; however, Pinterest employees get four additional weeks where they go through Pinterest’s Gradual Return to Work program," says Igor Mitic, who writes for the financial site Fortunly.com. "This program enables employees to choose to work part-time while still getting their full salary."
Plus, the company also offers "adoption assistance, helps their employees successfully go through surrogacy and provides fully furnished lactation rooms in all offices," Mitic says. "Additionally, it offers home birth coverage and one-year paid membership to Urbansitter and family-friendly events."
2. The Worst: Supervalu
A wholesaler and retailer of grocery products, Supervalu at least offers new moms childbirth recovery leave, but at only six to eight weeks.
While that's certainly not nothing, it's interesting to compare the policies at these worst-ranked companies with those who make headlines because of their great benefits. Case in point: Netflix, which has about 7,000 employees, offers one of the most generous parental leave policies to date. "Two years ago this company announced their employees would have a possibility of 'unlimited' parental leave policy," says Mitic. "This would mean they could use up to one year of parental leave after the child is born."
1. The Worst: Publix
The absolute worst family leave policies on this list came from Publix, another popular grocery store that's located in the south. Their stores are clean, their bakeries offer many delicious treats, and their employees are known for being kind and helpful.
With the store's profound success, it's startling to see how they do absolutely nothing for their employees in terms of family leave benefits.
10. The Best: The Home Depot
Now, moving onto the more positive stats on this list, with Home Depot as the No. 10 best company for family leave benefits. Home Depot, along with other companies at the very top of this list, offers childbirth recovery leave and parental leave to employees.
According to the company, employees are also offered tuition reimbursement, a 401(k), employee stock purchases and adoption assistance. They also offer their employees a wide range of discounts on services like cellphone plans, gym memberships, electronics and various other discounts at 30,000 retailers. But the company has this note regarding its extra benefits: "Specific benefits eligibility may depend on employment status, physical location and years of service."
9. The Best: Nordstrom
Nordstrom offers the above benefits to all types of employees. Their parental leave is available for all kinds of parents, including birthing, non-birthing, adoptive, etc.
Full-time and part-time employees are also eligible for health insurance, a 401(k), life, disability, accidental death insurance, paid time off and adoption assistance.
8. The Best: Verizon
At Verizon, a new mom who gave birth would be given 16 weeks of leave (including childbirth recovery and parental) while a new dad would be given eight weeks. And the company offers these leaves to full-time and part-time employees.
Despite providing these benefits to some employees, Verizon workers held the largest strikes in U.S. history in 2011 and again in 2016 when the company hired non-union contractors and outsourced thousands of jobs overseas.
7. The Best: Apple
In addition to the mentioned leave stats, employees at Apple have a large, diverse set of benefits and perks. The company covers the cost of egg freezing, according to Inc., and gym memberships, free food and discounts on Apple products are just a few of the other perks the company offers employees.
According to Glassdoor users, new employees get 12 days of paid vacation time, but that increases over time.
6. The Best: EY
EY stands for Ernst & Young, an international professional services firm. EY offers its employees (whether the parent gave birth or not) four months of parental leave and two weeks for family caregiving leave. They do have a personal medical leave program, but details on it were not immediately available.
It is also worth noting that employees at these companies also have separate vacation and holiday leaves open to them as well.
5. The Best: Microsoft
Microsoft made headlines when it offered its employees family caregiving leave. It also offers childbirth and parental leave to all of its employees. But there is a catch: contractors.
Microsoft, like many large companies, uses contractors and consultants for large parts of its business. Those firms do not usually offer the same benefits to their employees. So, at the same time Microsoft receives a lot of praise for its policies, critics are also there to remind everyone that the largest companies in our country are offering these resources to only some of their workforce.
4. The Best: H&M
It is easy to see that even at the top companies, the benefits are reduced pretty quickly. For example, H&M offers various leave for its employees but not at their full pay.
Plus, all of the leave policies aren't all the same for part-time employees. But the company does offer its parental leave to all types of parents.
3. The Best: Bank of America
Bank of America doesn't have a separate offering for childbirth recovery but does offer all of its employees 16 weeks of parental leave regardless of their status in the company or their parental role.
They don't provide their employees family caregiving leave, but often companies will let employees use personal medical leave to care for immediate family members.
2. The Best: IBM
IBM offers both childbirth recovery leave and parental leave like most companies at the top of this list. And the above leave is provided to all employees that are salaried, hourly, work in the field or part-time.
The company's parental leave is available for all kinds of parents, including birthing, non-birthing, adoptive, etc.
The Best: Deloitte
Kudos to Deloitte for earning the top spot on this list. Like several other companies at the top of this list, Deloitte provides the mentioned leave for all employees that are salaried, hourly, work in the field or part-time.
The company's parental leave is also available for all kinds of parents, including birthing, non-birthing, adoptive, etc.