Restaurateur Danny Meyer already broke with convention in a big way last year when he did away with tipping at the 13 New York City eateries in his restaurant empire, replacing it with a 10% service charge and higher menu prices.
Now, he’s making waves in a way that has the potential to really benefit employees, introducing four weeks of paid parental leave for all workers starting next year. Both front- and back-of-the-house workers with more than a year at the company will get their full base pay for four weeks after a new baby joins the family. After the first four weeks, workers will have the option of taking an additional four weeks at 60% of their pay. It covers mothers and fathers in heterosexual as well as same-sex partnerships, biological and adoptive parents, according to Eater.
The initiative was rolled out at the corporate offices of Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group last year, Eater noted, adding that this new plan doesn’t include Shake Shack, which was spun off into its own company last year.
Although the Family and Medical Leave Act requires that companies with more than 50 workers offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave, paid parental leave isn’t federally mandated and is practically unheard of in the restaurant and hospitality sector, although arguably the lower-paid staffers who make up the rank-and-file workforce at these companies are in need of this benefit at least as much as their white-collar counterparts.