Starbucks baristas receive far less paid family leave than corporate staff

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SEATTLE - Two Starbucks baristas are calling for the company to update their paid family leave policy so baristas and other store employees would get the same benefits as corporate employees.

Currently, corporate employees receive far more paid family leave than store employees, such as baristas and supervisors, receive. Some new parents who are store employees receive no paid leave at all.

The two baristas, Kristen, from Ohio, and Jessica, from Gig Harbor, delivered 80,000 petition signatures to Starbucks corporate headquarters Tuesday and asked to meet with Starbucks executives to discuss family leave policy.

Jessica said when she had her twins, she lived in a state that provided paid family leave benefits. Now that she lives in Gig Harbor, she's pregnant and raises the question of why she should get so much less time with her new child because she's a barista and not a corporate employee.

The company’s current parental leave program also specifies different amounts of leave for different types of parents, depending on their job. For instance, baristas and other store employees who aren’t birth mothers do not get any paid time off.

For corporate employees, the current Starbucks policy offers 18 weeks paid leave for the birth mother and 12 weeks paid leave for the other new parent. (Source: History of partner benefits at Starbucks).

But for store employees, Starbucks offers 6 weeks paid leave for the birth mother and no paid leave for the other new parent.

But in January, Starbucks decided to change their policy, effective Oct. 1, 2017. While they made the time off equal for both store and corporate employees, the difference is that corporate employees who are new parents will be getting paid, while store employees won't.

A company spokesperson said "all partners (depending on their role as either mom, spouse or domestic partner) get the same amount of time off - the only difference is the compensation."

Starbucks said as of Oct. 1 their policy would be the following:


All benefits-eligible birth mothers (store and non-store) working at least 20 hours a week will be eligible for six weeks of leave for medical recovery, paid at 100 percent of their average pay. Previously, those six weeks for all partners were paid at 67 percent of average pay.

 This benefit will be exceptional within the retail industry, especially because we make it available to benefits-eligible store partners working part-time, as well as full-time, like the rest of our benefits package.


• In addition, all benefits-eligible store partner new parents – including spouses and domestic partners working part-time or greater who welcome a new child, by birth, foster or adoption, will be eligible to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave without needing to meet Family Medical Leave (FMLA) eligibility requirements. This is also rare in the retail industry.


• And to be more competitive in our efforts to seek and retain non-store talent, any benefits-eligible non-store partner new parents – including spouses and domestic partners – who welcome a new child, by birth, foster or by adoption, will be eligible to take 12 weeks of leave paid at 100 percent of average pay."

 

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