retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that IKEA, the Swedish retailer, will offer employees in its US stores "up to four months of paid parental leave, becoming one of the few chain retailers to bring benefits usually reserved for salaried workers to an hourly workforce."

The story goes on: "IKEA has roughly 13,000 U.S. employees, and the benefits apply to all employees regardless of how many hours they work. Under the new program, which goes into effect Jan. 1, employees with at least one year of tenure will receive their full base pay for the first six weeks of leave, and half of their base pay for an additional six weeks. Employees who have been with IKEA for three or more years can receive full pay for eight weeks and half pay for eight weeks."

While the program will have a multi-million dollar cost, the company says that it believes the payoff will be "a more productive and longer-tenured workforce."

A final note from the story: "That is still a far cry from the 68 weeks of pay available to mothers and fathers in IKEA’s home country, where the government subsidizes benefits. But for the U.S., the only industrialized country with no national paid-leave policy, IKEA’s program is remarkably generous."
KC's View:
This just reinforces a long-held MNB tenet - that employees, when treated well, can be a force for both efficiency and effectiveness. When not treated well, they can turn into a force for nothing that is very good.