Every Company Should Copy IKEA's New Parental Leave Policy

December 6th 2016

Laura Donovan

IKEA US is expanding parental leave for long-term employees, announcing on Tuesday that new parents could take off as many as four months off work with full pay.


The company will provide the expanded parental leave to salaried and hourly workers, including fathers, mothers, and both adoptive and foster parents, who have been with the company for more than three years, according to an IKEA US release:

"Co-workers who have been with IKEA for more than one year can take up to three months of paid leave to be with their family, receiving 100% of their base wage for the first six weeks of parental leave and 50% for an additional six weeks. Co-workers with three or more years’ tenure can take up to four months of paid leave, receiving 100% of their base wage for the first eight weeks and 50% for an additional eight weeks. This is in addition to the six to eight weeks of Short Term Disability available to all co-workers regardless of tenure."

Lars Petersson, IKEA US President, said in a statement that this will give IKEA workers "the opportunity to spend more time with their families when welcoming a child."

"Our co-workers are our most important resource, which is why we continue to invest in helping them reach their dream," Petersson said.

IKEA competitor Walmart, by contrast, only provides salaried workers 90 days of paid maternity leave and and only two weeks of paternity or adoption leave, according to a Forbes report.

As ATTN: has noted before, America's parental leave policy leaves a lot to be desired.

A Pew Research Center report from September 2016 points out that the U.S. is the only country on a list of 41 developed nations that doesn't mandate any paid time off for parental leave:

Paid time off

The U.S. guarantees workers precisely zero weeks of paid parental leave. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), people who have worked at a company with at least 50 employees for a minimum of a year are guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave. Fathers can face their own set of challenges with taking paternity leave, including a stigma for prioritizing family, as ATTN: previously noted.

"There's still a stigma associated with men who put parenting on an equal footing with their jobs," Scott Coltrane, a sociologist at the University of Oregon, told The Wall Street Journal in June 2013. "Most employers still assume that work comes first for men, while women do all the child care."

Research published in The American Economic Review in 2014 found that men are more likely to take paternity leave when male colleagues, managers, and family members take it as well. When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced he was taking two months off to spend time with his new baby in November 2015, he received some praise for combating the stigma others face.

ATTN: recently partnered with "Catfish" host Nev Schulman and his fiance Laura Perlongo on a video about the importance for paternity leave, and the need to ensure new mothers aren't the only ones expected to take care of their children:

"Globally, moms get an average of 106 days of paid leave for a new baby, while dads only get an average of seven," Schulman said in the video above. "That's just one week."