IKEA’s Paid Parental Leave Policy a Sign of Things to Come?
Swedish furniture giant IKEA announced that it will offer up to four months of paid parental leave to its full-time and part-time workers in the United States – including employees of both genders, whether hourly or salaried, and whether they are becoming parents through birth, adoption, or foster care. The length of the paid leave depends on how long the employee has been with IKEA. Those employees who have been employed by the company for more than a year will be permitted to take parental leave for up to 12 weeks, with the first six weeks at their full pay and the second six weeks at 50% of their pay. Those employees who have been with IKEA for more than three years receive eight weeks of full pay and another 8 weeks at 50% of their pay. These policies apply in addition to any short-term disability benefits available to the employees.
IKEA’s new policy is much more employee-friendly than other retail giants and goes above and beyond federal and New Jersey law. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave per year to those employees who work for employers with over 50 employees, been employed by the employer for the last calendar year, and worked at least 1250 hours in the last year. An employee may take FMLA leave for the birth or adoption of a child. The New Jersey Family Leave Act also provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave in a 24-month period to those employees who work for employers with over 50 employees, been employed by the employer for the last calendar year, and worked at least 1000 hours in the last year. New Jersey also had a paid family leave benefit that provides up to 6 weeks of benefits for the birth or adoption of a child.
It remains to be seen whether IKEA’s parental leave policy will be as influential as its furniture designs and Swedish meatballs.