Today is National Employee Appreciation Day. (Also National Dress Day, National Oreo Cookie Day, National Frozen Food Day, the list goes on.) Chipotle figured such a day would be decent timing to roll out some pretty major employee benefits changes. While they are not giving every employee a new dress, a package of Oreo cookies, and four Amy’s Frozen Burritos—not yet, anyway—they are making it easier than ever before for their employees to care for their families as needed when they become new parents.
Take it away, Mr. Press Release:
Beginning this year, Chipotle will increase its Paid Parental Leave for Restaurant Support Center and eligible field employees to 12 weeks for birth moms and four weeks for new dads and individuals adopting children. The company recognizes that giving its employees plenty of time to bond with a new child is crucial to their development. Chipotle will also cover costs for nursing mothers to utilize breastmilk shipping services during work travel.
This is a big deal. America notoriously sucks in the paid family leave department; as of 2017, well over 90% of low-income workers had precisely zero access to paid parental leave. Starbucks does well, but Chipotle’s plan is more generous.
In addition, the company is testing unlimited PTO for “senior level staff,” meaning that sadly your favorite burrito technician is not yet eligible for this particular perk. The hope, per our friend the press release, is that the program “will give increased flexibility for these employees to juggle their many priorities at work as well as at home, without having to worry about accruing vacation or sick time.” The company will decide on a potentially larger rollout down the road.
These are merely the latest moves Chipotle has made to enhance benefits for employees; in the last year, the chain has rolled out “simplified access to mental health benefits and financial counseling platforms,” a new educational assistance program that makes a debt-free college education possible in certain fields, and a bonus program that has resulted in $2.75 million in bonuses to restaurant employees since it was implemented in June 2019.
Paid parental leave is a vital, important thing, and it’s a great development for Chipotle’s workforce.