Kevin Johnson: Starbucks LGBTQ partners deserve equal parental leave
My name is Niko, I’m a proud Starbucks partner of almost 7 years (this August).
A big reason why I went to work for Starbucks was because of their inclusiveness of the LGBTQ community. I am a transgender male and Starbucks is a place that I, and my LGBTQ friends who also work for the company, can be authentic.
Starbucks has demonstrated its inclusivity to the LGBTQ community in so many ways - a big one is their health care package, which includes coverage for surgeries deemed "cosmetic" by other companies, such as gender reassignment surgery. Starbucks healthcare package also offers fertility treatments and they provide support for adoption services. Because of their public commitment to non-traditional families, I was surprised to learn that the paid leave offered to partners does not extend to fathers or adoptive parents.
Earlier this year, a new parental leave policy was announced in Starbucks corporate, granting birth mothers 18 weeks of paid leave, and fathers/partners and adoptive parents 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with the new additions to their families. However, in-store employees are not given the same courtesy, as birth mothers are only given 6 weeks, while fathers/partners and adoptive parents are left with nothing. This leaves a large community of Starbucks partners, including the LGBTQ partners who are starting families, in tough situations because they have to take unpaid leave in order to care for their families.
Starbucks is an inspiring company, and they set the bar high in the area of inclusion of all types of people. In order to continue to create new standards for companies in the service industry, I am asking Starbucks to continue to show leadership in these areas and offer equal access to paid parental leave to all parents, not just those that work in the corporate office.
-- Niko, Starbucks shift lead in Los Angeles, CA