Levi Strauss & Co. is joining the ranks of employers turning to family leave programs to help their employees.
The apparel company known for its denim has rolled out a policy allowing all U.S. corporate and benefits-eligible retail employees to take eight weeks of paid time off per year to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. The policy went into effect Thursday.
The company says the benefit aims to better support employee wellbeing and to retain talent.
“Access to paid family leave addresses the needs of the modern workforce and can help boost employee retention and loyalty,” says Levi Strauss & Co. president and CEO Chip Bergh. “It’s not only the right thing to do for employees; it’s the smart thing to do for business.”
Specifically, the company’s paid family leave benefit provides up to eight weeks of paid time off annually to care for an ill spouse, domestic partner, parent or stepparent, child or stepchild up to 18 years of age. The new benefit builds on a paid parental leave program announced in 2016 that provides eight weeks of paid time off for new parents.
The company joins a growing cache of employers turning to competitive paid family leave policies to better support and attract employees, especially as the number of caregiving employees increases. More than one in 10 U.S. adults are caring for an aging parent or immediate family member at the same time they are raising their own children, according to a Pew Research Center study.
Target last year extended its paid family leave and backup care benefits to part-time and hourly employees. Intel also recently beefed up its paid leave policies by expanding leave for new parents to 12 weeks from eight weeks, providing up to eight weeks of paid leave for employees to care for a seriously ill family member, and expanding bereavement leave to two weeks.
A recent report from the Business Group on Health found that nearly four in 10 (39%) respondents expanded paid leave benefits in 2019; 38% are making changes this year; and 35% are considering doing so by 2022.
While momentum has been growing for paid parental leave, in particular, the Business Group on Health’s research found that employers are going beyond programs just for new parents. Time off for caregivers is one such growing area: 35% of employers surveyed offer caregiver leave benefits, and another 28% are considering it by 2022. Furthermore, employers are going beyond leave to care for a spouse, child or parent to add coverage for others whom employees may have caregiving responsibilities for: 46% cover siblings, 46% cover parents of a spouse or partner and 38% cover grandparents.
“Employers are investing in leave benefits as part of a more holistic view of the role employee wellbeing plays in workforce strategy,” says Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the Business Group on Health. “Leave benefits, especially for new parents and working caregivers, are highly valued by employees and address a growing area of need. Employers are evaluating and, in many cases, expanding these and other benefits to help meet those needs.”