Points of View

Paid Family Leave Increases for Both Hourly and Salaried Workers

Sam Stebbins

Many of the largest employers in the US are beginning to offer more family-friendly benefits, the New York Times reports. This is a sign that low unemployment is pushing employers to consider their family leave policies for low-wage and hourly workers. Hourly employees make up 95% of the workforce, and in the past two years, 16% of them said they needed to take leave but weren’t able to.

That’s because the US is the only industrialized country with no mandated minimum family leave time, allowing individual companies to dictate their own family leave policies. Until recently, many companies offered paid leave only to salaried employees, leaving hourly workers to choose between caregiving responsibilities and a paycheck. 

Now, large employers like Starbucks and Walmart are increasing these benefits to all workers. Starbucks is introducing paid time off to care for sick family members as well as paternity leave for hourly employees, including those who adopt. Walmart now offers the same number of paid weeks off for both salaried and hourly employees and has introduced a benefit to help pay for adoptions.


Family Leave Policies Changing as Family Life Changes

According to the New York Times, increasing family leave means that companies are “catching up to the fact that family life has changed faster than workplace or public policies.” Whether that means equal leave policies for all workers or completely new family-friendly benefits, most people agree that these are positive changes. A majority of Americans surveyed said that paid family leave will help families and the economy.


In today’s tight labor market, increasing family leave will allow more people to remain in the workforce. Mothers who are able to take paid leave are more likely to be working a year after giving birth or adopting a child. This also helps diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the workplace.

What do you think about increasing family leave? What impacts do you see or predict as a result of increasing family-friendly benefits in your workplace? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn