Lowe’s expands family benefits, hands out employee bonuses

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After making an investment in benefits support with healthcare concierge service Accolade at the start of 2018, Lowe’s is continuing to expand its employee benefit offerings.

The home improvement retailer expanded its maternity leave program for full-time workers to include 10 weeks of paid leave and added a new benefit of two weeks of paid parental leave for all new parents, both hourly and salaried workers. Lowe’s also added an adoption assistance benefit to its family-friendly benefits package; it covers up to $5,000 of expenses related to agency, legal and other fees. The company did not share what the maternity leave program was previously.

“Over 70% of full-time employees are covered by our benefits, [and] more than half cover dependents,” the company said in a statement. “That said, we believe family-friendly benefits are important to our employees, and we design our programs with that in mind.”

The company says it considered investing in training opportunities and reevaluated its retirement benefits, but it chose to offer family-friendly benefits because they matched the needs of the workforce.

Full-time employees are eligible for the enhanced maternity and parental leave benefits following one year of employment, while the adoption benefits are available after a month of employment, according to the company. About two-thirds of Lowe’s 290,000 employees are full-time workers.

See also: CVS Health extends benefits amid tax reform

Meanwhile, more than 260,000 hourly employees will receive a $1,000 cash bonus. The one-time bonus is in addition to the company’s long-standing, store-level bonus program.

“Hourly associates participate in the company’s long-standing store level incentive programs, which is earned and paid quarterly,” the company said in a statement. “Salaried employees participate in a separate store-level bonus program that incorporates both sales and employee engagement.”

The last component of the benefits extension is that all new employees can enroll in health benefits 30 days after their start date.

The benefit expansion comes as hundreds of companies make significant changes to their benefits packages or implement one-time bonuses due to tightening labor markets and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which slashed the corporate rate to 21% from 35%.

The company recently announced that it plans to recruit more than 53,000 seasonal employees and expects the net impact of the GOP tax reform to be positive. Lowe’s says it expects to save about $75 million in the last quarter of fiscal year 2017 due to tax reform.

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