Coca-Cola Offers Paid Leave for All Parents

The United States is one of only two countries in the world that does not guarantee paid maternity leave. Fortunately, some companies are stepping in.The United States is one of only two countries in the world that does not guarantee paid maternity leave. Fortunately, some companies are stepping in and providing what the federal government has not. Coca-Cola will offer paid leave for all parents.

The United States does not provide paid family leave to its workers. There is a U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that applies to employers with 50 or more employees. FMLA offers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to care for a newborn, adopted or foster child.

Coca-Cola’s paid leave policy will take effect for all eligible employees beginning January 1, 2017. It is a gender neutral policy that offers six weeks of paid leave to all new parents. This includes moms and dads. The paid leave will be available to biological parents of a newborn, parents who have adopted a child, and foster parents.

The policy is offered to same-sex partners, opposite-sex partners, and single parents. By removing gender from the equation and offering all parents the same amount of paid leave, Coca-Cola hopes to combat bias and help pave the way for more women in leadership positions.

Coca-Cola posted an article on its official website that was written by President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Chad Griffin. He is in support of Coca-Cola’s new paid leave policy. He wrote:

With its new paid leave policy for all parents and caregivers, Coca-Cola is committing to the health and well-being of all employees and their families. Many LGBT people build their families through adoption, and additional time at home helping a baby or child transition into a new family environment is important. Likewise, for single parents who are LGBT, this extended paid leave allows more time to secure their child’s well-being, including finding reliable child care.

Supporting that adoptive transgender mom, single gay dad, or a lesbian foster parent is not an abstract concept: companies that do so are simply taking care of their own. This welcome action is consistent with the company’s history – from stepping up as an early adopter of transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage, to its marketing that supports the LGBT community at-large.

Coca-Cola’s new paid leave policy will supplement the six to eight weeks of paid leave that Coke currently provides to birth mothers through short-term disability. The new paid leave policy was championed by Coca-Cola Millennial Voices, a group of young employees tapped to serve as a kickstarter for change to help the company attract and retain both Millennial employees and consumers. Coca-Cola anticipates that Millennials will account for more than half of the global Coca-Cola system workforce by 2020.

Image by Joe Lodge on Flickr.

Related Articles on Families.com:

* Where Companies Stand on Parental Leave

* Paul Ryan Brings Up Paid Parental Leave

* Investigating Maternity Leave Options