Target aims to boost employee loyalty with enhanced family-friendly benefits

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Target this week announced it is expanding a number of its family-friendly benefits, including paid leave and caregiving benefits, to the 350,000 full- and part-time hourly employees at its stores, distribution centers and headquarters.

Beginning this fall, the Minneapolis-based retailer will offer workers 20 days of backup child care or elder care through Target’s partnership with Bright Horizons network.

The backup care benefit gives workers access to child- and elder-care services when their usual arrangements are temporarily unavailable. If an employee’s child or elder care arrangements fall through, they can bring their child to a daycare center for $20 a day or arrange for in-home child-, adult- or eldercare for a low hourly rate, a Target spokesperson said. The balance of the cost will be subsidized by Target.

In addition to the caregiving benefits, Target is also boosting paid leave and adoption benefits.

Under the new paid family leave policy, which begins June 30, employees can take four weeks of paid time off to care for an immediate family member. This includes time off to bond following the addition of a new child to the family through birth, adoption, surrogacy or foster placement; and time off to care for a child, spouse or parent with a critical illness.

Also see: Target boosts its minimum starting wage as war for workers rages

“Retail workforces are unique in their mix of hourly and salaried positions, and one of our philosophies is to offer the same family-focused benefits to both hourly and salaried team members,” says Melissa Kremer, Target’s chief human resources officer.

The company also is doubling adoption and surrogacy reimbursement. Beginning April 1, eligible employees are entitled to $10,000 in reimbursement fees, which may include application, filing, placement or agency costs as well as court costs, immigration and translation fees, attorney fees, transportation costs and surrogate parenting expenses.

“Like many retailers, our team includes individuals, from high school students to working parents, who need flexibility in their work schedules in order to meet their commitments outside of work,” a Target spokesperson said. “In fact, 40% of our workforce are student or retiree age, and chose to work part time. With such a broad mix of part- and full-time team members, one size does not fit all when it comes to benefits. We work hard to offer the benefits needed for the full range of life stages.”

Target is the latest large employer to invest in benefits for employees who are parents. Many employers are enhancing their policies as a way to attract and retain talent in a tight job market.

The number of employers offering paid parental leave, for instance, jumped to 27% in 2018 from 17% in 2016, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently updated its policy to six months of paid time off following the birth or adoption of a child. Advance Financial and Bloomberg have also updated policies.

In addition to employers beefing up paid leave policies, lawmakers have also been weighing in, with Connecticut expected to be the seventh state to offer paid leave to its workers. Additionally, President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address called for federal paid family leave, saying his plan would allow every new parent a “chance to bond with their newborn child.”

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