Starbucks announces new backup childcare benefits
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business
(CNN) — Starbucks is sweetening the pot for employees with a new family care benefit.
The company announced on Tuesday that it will provide workers with ten subsidized backup care days for children or adults.
Starbucks (SBUX) announced an expansive new set of benefits in January. At the time, the company said that it was giving all baristas sick leave plus $500 in stock grants ($2000 for store managers). Starbucks also announced higher wages and paid parental leave for up to six weeks, including for non-birth parents.
The new care policy “is the final piece of the puzzle,” said Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks.
Starbucks noted that 2 million working parents quit their jobs in 2016 because of child care, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health. It says it is among the largest retailers in the United States to offer the benefit.
“It’s hard for employees to actually focus on work if their families aren’t cared for,” said Sheila Marcelo, CEO of Care.com. Because of that, care benefits help improve productivity at work, she said.
Marcelo added that she’s been “really surprised” by how many companies have added care benefits over the past year. Care.com works with companies like Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB) on their employee care benefits.
Starbucks is partnering with Care.com, a digital platform that connects caregivers with people who need them, to implement the benefit.
Employees can choose to pay $1 an hour for in-home care of children or adults or $5 a day for each child at a center. After the ten days, workers pay the full cost for services offered by Care.com.
Employees will also receive a free premium membership to the site, and be able to speak with its senior advisers for free.
In addition to expanding its suite of benefits, Starbucks has been experimenting with creative ways to retain workers in a tight labor market.
The company said in August that it is testing a program that will allow some employees to spend half of their workweek at a local nonprofit. Starbucks Service Fellows work for nonprofits that align with Starbucks’ philanthropic priorities, which include supporting refugees, veterans and military families and youth, eliminating hunger, protecting the environment and offering disaster relief.
Starbucks has offered healthcare to all full-time and part-time employees since 1988. The company also covers tuition for an online bachelor’s degree.