How corporate America’s parental leave policies discriminate against dads, LGBTQ+, and adoptive parents
While media coverage often focuses on new paid family leave announcements by a few exemplary employers, the numbers tell a different story: 114 million people in the U.S. still don’t have a single day of paid family leave.
An in-depth look at the paid family leave policies of the largest employers in the United States reveals a stark picture of exactly who is being left out: the majority of the nation’s top companies give little or no paid parental leave to dads and adoptive parents. Current policies make it challenging for fathers to play an active role in family caregiving and also have a disproportionate impact on LGBTQ+ employees.
Starbucks has demonstrated its inclusivity to the LGBTQ+ community in so many ways.
Niko, a Starbucks barista for over seven years, said that his manager was tremendously supportive during his transition. And his health care through Starbucks paid for his hormones, doctor appointments, and reconstructive surgeries.
Niko was surprised that Starbucks public commitment to non-traditional families stopped when it came to its paid parental leave policy. In-store fathers and adoptive parents are excluded from the policy -- leaving a large community of Starbucks partners, including the LGBTQ+ partners who are starting families, in tough situations because they have to take unpaid leave in order to care for their families.
Niko started a petition calling on Starbucks to provide equal paid parental leave coverage to all Starbucks employees, and plans on delivering to Starbucks executives tens of thousands of signatures in support of his petition.
"In 2017, employers should not dictate the parental roles of their employees along gender lines." -- Derek Rotondo, Working Dad
When the due date for Derek's second child arrived, he reached out to the human resources department at J.P. Morgan Chase, where he's worked since 2010, to request primary caregiver leave to care for his son.
J.P. Morgan said that only mothers are automatically considered to be primary caregivers. J.P. Morgan’s policy effectively forces families to treat mothers as the primary caregiver, except in exceptional circumstances.
J.P. Morgan’s parental leave policy discriminates against both moms and dads by enforcing outdated stereotypes, and fails to address the needs of same-sex and adoptive parents. That's why Derek joined with the American Civil Liberties Union to file a sex discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, because all parents, regardless of their sex, should be able to take the time they need to bond with their kids.
April is an adoptive parent and Walmart employee.
“I do not have any paid family leave at Walmart in order to care for my foster daughter. I have been penalized when I’ve needed time to take my daughter to the doctor or hospital even though I am her legal guardian and by law, the only person allowed to take her," April said.
“Adoptive and foster kids need care and bonding too. It would have made a world of difference to have had paid family leave when we welcomed her to our family."