Stonyfield, as part of a coalition of employers led by its parent company, Danone, is pleased to announce that beginning in July of 2016, it will offer 6 months of paid maternity leave to mothers, or the primary caregiver in the case of same sex couples. As a progressive company with a focus on healthy families, Stonyfield already offers a maternity leave package that includes extra time off with some additional pay, but is excited about this leap forward in supporting women in the workplace. Family leave is becoming a reality.
“At Stonyfield, our mission is healthy food, healthy people, and a healthy planet. This is the epitome of healthy people, supporting our employees so they can focus on raising healthy children from the start,” stated Sue Melvin, Stonyfield’s VP of HR.
Currently, parental leave practices in the U.S. are well below global standards. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), only 12% of private sector workers have access to paid leave through their employer. There is no federal law requiring paid maternity leave, but the positive benefits for families and companies outweigh the risks. The DOL also reports that after “California and New Jersey enacted paid family leave benefits, most businesses in those states reported positive or neutral experiences and few negative effects.” Bloomberg’s January, 2015 report “Can the U.S. Ever Fix Its Messed-Up Maternity Leave System?” reported that typically a mother qualifies for short-term disability insurance after the birth of a child. Other than that, companies must voluntarily offer paid leave. Stonyfield’s step of 6-months of paid leave is a great gift for families that need longer recovery time, as well as giving mothers and caregivers enough time to breastfeed and bond with a healthy child without the distraction of work.
Are there benefits to breastfeeding with longer time off? The journal Pediatrics found that length of time off from work affected the length of breastfeeding. “Women who waited at least six weeks to return to work were more likely to start breastfeeding… Those who returned at or after 13 weeks were almost twice as likely to continue breastfeeding predominantly beyond three months, prompting researchers to conclude that if new moms delay their return to work, the overall duration of breastfeeding in the U.S. may lengthen.” And the long-term benefits of breastfeeding are now supported by a recent study from Brazil that tracked 6000 babies through adulthood – for 30 years – and found that those who breastfed tested at higher IQ’s, spent more time in school and earned more than the participants who had not been breastfed.
About the Coalition
The Working Parent Support Coalition was conceived of by leaders at Danone’s US-based companies in consultation with the Clinton Global Initiative and other members, and is committed to implement a range of parental workplace support practices that ultimately improve health, development, and economic outcomes for both families and companies. These practices around parental workplace support range from transformative strategies, such as longer paid parental leave, to more modest yet highly meaningful ones, such as providing transition support training.
Stonyfield: Supporting Families Family Leave, and the Environment
Stonyfield not only cares about its employees, they are working to make the world a better place by keeping toxic pesticides out of our soil, water, air and food. They have been providing consumers with high quality organic yogurt since the 1980’s. They support small family farmers who take good care of animals and the Earth. They helped pioneer green business practices, like packaging made from plants.
That’s why Mamavation is proud to work with Stonyfield, a featured sponsor at this year’s ShiftCon conference.