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Target Is Expanding Parental Leave To Hourly Workers & Extending Child Care Benefits

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Paid parental leave remains one of the most talked-about issues in the political arena. As presidential candidates get ready for the 2020 election, you know they're all going to have their own version of a paid parental leave package as part of their platform. Especially considering the United States is woefully behind so many other developed countries when it comes to offering parents paid time away from work after welcoming a baby. Fortunately, one company seems to be taking their own initiative without waiting for politicians to step in. Announced this week, Target plans to expand paid parental leave to hourly workers and will extend child care benefits as well.

On Monday, June 10, Target officially announced it would be expanding paid parental leave, which was previously only available to salaried employees, according to CBS News, to its 350,000 part-time and full-time hourly employees from stores, distribution centers, and headquarters. In a move to reduce employee turnover rate, Target is also planning to offer improved child care benefits to their employees, as The Hill reported. As it stands right now, Target employees who have a baby are able to get two weeks of paid parental leave, as CBS News reported. That amount will actually be doubled once the new system takes effect as of the end of June.

The new policy of offering four weeks of paid leave also extends to anyone who needs to care for a sick family member as well as newborn care, according to CBS News. And on top of those four weeks, new mothers will get an additional six to eight weeks of paid maternity leave, as KKTV News reported.

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A spokesperson for Target told CNN that the company recognizes that there are "many different situations" which could have employees needing additional time to care for family members.

The company isn't just expanding paid parental leave for parents working for them either; as of this fall, Target is also taking steps to make back-up child care available to all employees instead of only those working at headquarters. Essentially what this means is, if a parent has an emergency where their regular child care falls through at the last minute they will be able to access in-center child care for $20 per day, or will be offered subsidized in-home child care, as CNN reported.

Target has spent the past few months taking steps to make its work environment more attractive to hourly employees, starting with raising the starting pay to $13 per hour at the beginning of the year. The company announced that it plans to raise the starting wage to $15 per hour by the end of the year, which would bring it in line with companies like Amazon and Costco, according to CBS News.

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All of these changes will make working for Target much easier for parents, of course, and that's wonderful. Now if only the federal government would make reasonable paid parental leave accessible for everyone in the country. As it stands right now, according to TIME, there is no federal law offering paid parental leave to all workers in the United States.

Target clearly understand how to take care of the people who work for them, and hopefully more companies and the government will quickly follow suit.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to clarify Target’s plan for raising its minimum wage.