Swedish meatballs. Chic yet inexpensive furniture. The Billy bookcase.
Americans have long loved Ikea and its maze of home decor and unexpected delights. Now, there’s another reason to love the blue and yellow flat-pack furniture mecca. Ikea announced Tuesday that it will offer its 13,000 salaried and hourly employees in the U.S. up to four months of paid parental leave.
This is an impressive move for the retail world, as tech companies like Netflix and Facebook have paved the way for more robust parental leave policies. At Ikea, all employees, both salaried and hourly workers who become new parents will be eligible for up to four months of paid or partially paid time off after meeting certain tenure requirements.
According to reports, Ikea had previously pregnant women five days of paid leave in addition to six to eight weeks of paid disability leave. However, with this new announcement effective Jan. 1, the policy will apply to mothers and fathers who are birth, adoptive or foster parents.
In addition to being a huge win for employees, this move by Ikea also reflects today’s job market. With unemployment at a nine-year low, many companies are trying to retain workers. November’s strong jobs report showed the economy added 178,000 new jobs, bringing the unemployment rate down sharply to 4.6 percent—the lowest rate since August 2007. November’s report marks 74 straight months of positive job gains, the longest streak on record.
Furthermore, Ikea’s policy change is a part of its initiative to foster better relations with employees. Over the past two years, Ikea has reportedly increased pay consistently and has brought the average minimum hourly wage to $11.87. No wonder employees give Ikea a 3.9 overall company rating on Glassdoor, and 92% of their workforce approves of CEO Peter Agnefjall.
“Grattis” to the Swedes for showing the U.S. retail industry how it’s done!