Ikea makes drastic changes to paid parental leave policy

Posted at 5:10 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-07 11:18:46-05

Ikea will soon be offering longer parental leave to employees who are new parents. The company announced on Tuesday that the policy change will be available to 13,000 salaried and hourly employees in the U.S., including those who work for their store in Merriam, Kansas.

Effective Jan. 1, the new policy will be offered to mothers and fathers who are birth, foster or adoptive parents. Employees of a year or more will be eligible for up to three months of paid leave (full pay for the first six weeks and 50 percent after that), and employees of at least three years will be able to take up to four months off (eight weeks at full pay and eight weeks at half pay).

Ikea’s previous policy only allowed women giving birth five days of paid leave and six to eight weeks of paid disability.

Annie Richmond with IKEA Merriam sent 41 Action News the following statement: 

“IKEA strives to give our co-workers an outstanding work experience, and this benefit is the latest in a series of investments that IKEA has made to make IKEA a great place to work! This parental leave benefits both hourly and salary co-workers, mothers and fathers, adoptive and foster parents. IKEA Merriam feels like a family, and we are happy that IKEA believes all co-workers deserve a wage and benefits that allow them to meet the needs of their life.”

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Advocates pushing for parental leave rights are praising the company’s decision, including the Women’s Foundation, who is hoping Missouri can become the newest state with legislation mandating employers give their employees paid parental leave.

"This is one of our top policy agenda items for the state of Missouri and just last Friday we hosted Missouri Speaker of the House, Todd Richardson, and he too announced this is an issue area he is extremely interested in, in the state of Missouri,” said Women’s Foundation president and CEO Wendy Doyle.

Doyle said she believes Ikea’s decision to improve their paid parental leave policy could foreshadow what’s to come in the future for working Missourians. She also believes research proves better parental leave benefits help the employer in the long run.

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"It encourages the employee who takes advantage of it to come back to work,” she said. “So that means it keeps the costs down low on the retention strategy for the company; it increases the bottom line; it increases employee morale; it just makes good business sense; and plus it keeps the employee, who steps out of the work force, off of any government support because they have such a policy in place."

There is currently no state law in Missouri or Kansas mandating employers give paid parental leave. The only four states which currently have such laws are: California, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Netflix, Adobe and Microsoft have all made recent changes to their paid parental leave policy. Netflix announced last year it would give parents “unlimited” paid leave for up to a year following the birth or adoption of a child.



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