Healthy food chain Sweetgreen announced a new company-wide policy on Instagram Tuesday. The company is now offering employees five months of paid parental leave. While it's a growing trend for some U.S. companies to offer more paid parental leave, family leave policies are not nationally required.
The benefit extends to "mothers, fathers, adoptive parents, foster parents and others with new additions to their families." Sweetgreen said the company believes "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."
"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," the company's Instagram post reads. "Someone once gave us a piece of advice we live by: people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. This is the essence of one of our most important core values — make an impact. This move is rare for our industry and we hope this creates a conversation for other companies to join."
Sweetgreen technically fits into the food industry, but its policy is more in line with recent initiatives implemented at tech companies. It is a growing trend in the tech industry to offerTech executives like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian , each taking an extended leave when their children were born.
Reddit offers new moms and dads 16 weeks of paid leave,Amazon allows new moms 20 weeks of paid leave and new dads and adoptive parents six weeks.
Microsoft and IBM have similar policies, while Adobe and Etsy both offer 26 weeks of fully-paid time off to new mothers.
Others are following suit — even in the public sector. In March, San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz announced that the city government wasleave for municipal workers from three months to six months.
The mayor also introduced another measure that increases paternity leave from five to 20 days.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom also proposed six months of paid parental leave for all California residents earlier this year. And House Democrats introduced legislation that would guarantee federal employees 12 weeks of paid family leave.
Deloitte, one of the "Big Four" accounting firms, has been hailed as leader for its family leave policies. The company offers employees 16 weeks of paid parental leave, plus up to eight weeks of childbirth recovery. This policy earned Deloitte a top ranking on PL+US's 2018 list of the employers with the best leave policies. PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) is a nonprofit dedicated to winning high-quality paid family leave across the country by 2022.
Six months' leave may be the new gold standard — even pediatricians recommend that mothers spend between six months and a year at home with their infant children. However, this is not the reality for most working moms in the U.S.
One in four moms return to work just 10 days after childbirth, according to PL+US.