Hannaford Supermarkets adds paid parental leave benefit

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Hannaford Supermarkets is adding another benefit to its shopping cart: paid parental leave.

The supermarket chain, which operates 181 stores throughout the Northeast, is now providing qualifying full- and part-time associates with six weeks of fully paid leave during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption or legal placement of a child.

Margo Peffer, vice president of human resources at Hannaford says the company recognizes that employees come from a variety of circumstances. Being an inclusive employer means supporting employees through a wide range of life changes, she adds.

“Having easy access to tools and benefits that support well-being and balance in our personal and professional lives is important for all of us at Hannaford,” she says.

See also: Hewlett Packard Enterprise adds 6 months of paid parental leave

In total, about 27% of employers offer paid parental leave, up from 17% in 2016, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. Companies including Diageo, Sweetgreen and Advance Financial have all boosted their family-friendly benefits this year.

“[Family leave policies] help drive attraction, aid retention and more importantly have a positive impact on employee engagement and well-being, minimizing some of the stressors inherent in significant lifestyle changes,” Deirdre Mahlan, president of Diageo North America told Employee Benefit News in May.

Although the number of employers offering paid family leave is increasing, it is still not as commonplace among grocery chains. But some employers are making changes. For example, New Seasons Market, a grocery store based in Portland, Oregon, began offering four weeks of fully paid parental leave to employees last year.

“We consistently seek feedback from our staff, and they shared that paid parental leave is one of the areas of need so they can spend critical time at home when they have a child, adopt or become long-term foster parents,” Wendy Collie, New Seasons’ CEO says in a statement.

See also: Kroger uses tax savings to introduce education benefit

Hannaford’s new policy will be offered in addition to other qualified time off plans including short and long-term disability. The company also provides its 27,000 associates with PTO, health advocates, an employee assistance program, education reimbursement and healthcare and disability coverage.

“As a parent, I know firsthand the peace of mind that comes with meaningful support to focus on your loved ones after a key life event,” Peffer says. “I am proud that we are an early leader in being able to offer a benefit that will improve the health and well-being of our associates and their families.”

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