TWIN FALLS -- Officials at Chobani announced Wednesday the yogurt company is rolling out an expanded parental leave policy that will apply to both salaried and hourly employees beginning in January.
Under the new policy, new fathers and mothers will receive six weeks of paid leave after the birth of a child, adoption, or placement of a foster child into their home.
"This paid parental leave policy is important for Chobani, but it is also part of a critical conversation about the need for increased parental leave in the U.S. ," the company said in a press release.
According to Chobani, 90 percent of workers in private sector manufacturing jobs do not have access to paid maternity or paternity leave.
Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya says that need to change.
"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,” Ulukaya, said in a release. “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.”
Chobani's Twin Falls factory employes between 1,000 and 2,000 workers - depending on the season - who will now become eligible for the paid leave, which goes into effect beginning in 2017.
Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy Grace Zuncic said the change is intended to reflect the importance of parents having time to spend with their children without having to worry about taking a budget hit.
“In designing employee benefits like parental leave, we've always tried to take a holistic view that includes everyone in the company," she said in a statement. "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. Our ability to spend time with them in their earliest days is essential. 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."