Sweetgreen is changing its parental leave policy to one of the most impressive offerings in the industry. The brand announced on Instagram it was extending parental leave to five months paid leave for “mothers, fathers, adoptive parents, foster parents, and others with new additions to their families.”
“Nobody makes a bigger impact than our team members — it’s their dedication that allows us to live our mission every day: connecting people to real food,” Sweetgreen said in a statement on Medium. “This is why we have updated our parental leave policy to provide a more just benefit to all parents, creating a new standard in the restaurant industry.”
Both full- and part-time employees are eligible to take the leave as long as they’ve been on the payroll for six months.
Sweetgreen is the latest company to offer extended parental leave. In 2018, Starbucks added six weeks of paid family leave as a benefit for employees. At the beginning of 2019, Noodles & Company extended its maternity leave policy to a family-focused policy with six weeks of fully-paid maternity leave and expanded parental leave options, flexible time off for corporate team members, adoption assistance of up to $10,000, and breast milk shipment during business travel.
There is still a long way to go when it comes to offering parental leave as an employee benefit. According to the Department of Labor, only 15 percent of employers nationwide offered the benefit in 2017. Policymakers across the country are pushing for new policies outlining timelines for maternity, paternity, and parental leave. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed six months of paid paternal leave for all residents. A proposal in Congress would mandate a three month policy of paid family leave.
Sweetgreen’s founders—Jonathan Neman, Nathaniel Ru, and Nicolas Jammet—said the policy is a response to the lack of federal regulation for the benefit.
“We believe it is our responsibility to lead the way given the U.S. is one of the few countries that does not mandate any paid leave for new parents,” the company said in a statement.