It’s no secret that policies supporting parents still leave much to be desired in the United States. But thankfully companies like Google and Netflix have stepped up to provide paid parental leave to their employees—and have played a role in shifting workplace culture in doing so.
Now, the largest employer in the country is following suit: Walmart will now provide 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid paternity leave to full-time hourly associates.
The new and improved parental leave policies will affect the company’s more than one million hourly associates, and the benefits don’t stop there. Walmart is also providing financial assistance for adoption to full-time hourly and salaried associates to the tune of $5,000 per child, which can be used for adoption agency fees or legal costs.
In fact, all Walmart employees can look forward to some improvements: Beginning in February, Walmart’s starting wage will increase to $11.
“It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families,” says Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillan in a press release.
The United States is still one of only four nations in the world to not guarantee paid maternity or paternity leave. As a result, far too many parents still don’t have access to paid leave.
According to a report published in the American Journal of Public Health, about 273,000 American women take maternity leave each month. But fewer than half of those women have any paid benefits.
While there is still much work to be done when it comes to supporting parents in the workplace, we’re glad to see more companies like Walmart stepping up to bridge the gap.