Chobani paternity leave

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya speaking to employees Wednesday morning at the upstate New York plant.

COURTESY OF CHOBANI

TWIN FALLS — Chobani has announced a new parental leave policy for all full-time hourly and salaried employees.

Starting next year, the company will offer all full-time employees 100-percent-paid parental leave for six weeks. The program extends to both mothers and fathers for the birth, adoption or placement of a foster child into the home.

The policy is important for Chobani, the company stated in a release, but it is also part of a critical conversation about the need for increased parental leave in the U.S.

“As a founder and a new father, my son opened my eyes to the fact that the vast majority of workers in this country don’t have access to paid family leave when they have a new child,” Hamdi Ulukaya, founder, chairman and CEO of Chobani said in a statement. “That’s especially true when it comes to manufacturing and that needs to change in this country and Chobani needed to be part of that change.”

The U.S. is one of three countries in the world with no paid maternity leave laws, the company said. Eighty-seven percent of private sector U.S. workers don’t have access to paid parental leave policies, and nine-tenths of private sector workers in manufacturing don’t have paid parental leave.

Chobani also provides full-time employees health care, retirement planning and most recently, Chobani Shares, giving employees the opportunity to share in the growth of the company over time.

The company was also recently certified as a Great Place to Work, an independent recognition based on employee surveys. Eighty-five percent of employees said Chobani is a great place to work. Some of the areas that stood out in the survey were positive feelings around the company’s contribution to the community, a sense of pride in Chobani and the ability to be oneself at work.

In the U.S., Great Place to Work produces the annual Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For” and a series of Best Workplaces lists. Companies are measured on qualities including trust, pride and culture.

“What I value most as a new mom — and a newly expecting mom — is that paid parental leave isn’t just about helping new parents, it’s about our children,” said Grace Zuncic, senior vice president of corporate development and strategy, and a key advisor on the new policy.

“Our ability to spend time with them in their earliest days is essential,” she said. ”We hope the majority of U.S. companies that currently don’t have plans in place to support new parents will get on-board with that thinking.”

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