Levi’s to offer paid sick leave to part-time workers

Levi Strauss & Co. is extending its sick leave policy to give all part-time employees access to those benefits.

The apparel company says part-time employees will now accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 80 hours of paid sick time annually–the same policy that its full-time retail employees have. The move, says Scott White, the company’s vice president of people operations and total rewards, will help the company more safely open up for business after COVID-19 forced the company to close its brick-and-mortar locations.

“Now more than ever, it is our responsibility to take care of our people,” White says. “As we begin to reopen and welcome employees back to our stores in the U.S., we are doing all we can to not only protect their health, but also ensure they can take care of themselves and their families when they need to.”

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It’s not the only benefits change Levi’s has made this year: In February, the company 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.

Related: Benefits and the pandemic: Are you stepping up?

Levi’s joins other companies that have rethought benefits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Paid sick leave policies, in particular, have taken the spotlight as thousands of employees get sick from coronavirus, yet have no paid sick leave offering from their workplace. Roughly 33.6 million people, or 24% of U.S. civilian workers, do not have access to paid sick leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The access rate to medical care benefits for part-time workers was 22%, according to a 2019 report.

The pandemic may cause those statistics to change–at least temporarily.

Several employers have expanded paid leave benefits to more employees; others rolled out specific COVID-19 policies. Amazon, DoorDash, Instacart and Lowe’s, for instance, said they would provide up to 14 paid days off to any employee quarantined or diagnosed with the coronavirus.

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Overall, about 42% of employers say they have made, or are planning to make, changes to PTO, vacation and sick-day programs due to the pandemic, according to a survey of 817 employers from consulting firm Willis Towers Watson.

“Leave policies have become incredibly important to those employees juggling new work arrangements and family situations such as children being home from school,” says Rachael McCann, Willis Towers Watson’s senior director of health and benefits. “Employers recognize that these programs are relatively easy and inexpensive to change and generate a great deal of goodwill.”

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.