Comments

1
Corporations always treat their office workers better. They are harder to find and harder to replace. A senior project manager versed in whatever you need done in your company is harder to vet and recruit than a barista. There is way way more variance in employee performance and trustworthiness down at the hourly level as well - suits are asking "how do we know they aren't going to lie for free vacations" because you know how people who have a big Audi to drive to work think about plebs.

This is not going to be fixed through anything but federal mandates, and given that the majority voting bloc is a bunch of morons we have a lot more waiting to do. Stories like this at least help to start holding some feet to the fire.

Maybe weirdass Schultz will have the right heartstring plucked and improve the policy, or make it permissible for baristas to do birth announcements on their customer cup doodles.
2
I can't imagine a less gratifying experience than flying halfway across the country (twice) with an infant child to attend a shareholder meeting in which I have no real vote.
3
Okay, I'll be the dick.

The baby is three months old and Kristen has worked for Starbucks for a year, meaning she got pregnant about the time she was hired. Should maternity (and paternity) leave be equitable across-the-board, or should it be earned on a sliding scale of tenure and hours worked (assuming retail and corporate employees are treated the same)?
4
One thing I am unclear on, is this a disparity between corporate workers and in-store workers or is this between full-time and part-time employees? Not sure it makes any difference in the grand scheme of things, but the author made the statement that her hours fell short of her qualifying for maternity leave. I know from my time as a partner that although everyone (even part-timers) had access to an incredible health-care plan, that other things were determined by full or part-time status. Are all in-store employees denied proper maternity leave? Again, not sure it matters, but I am unclear on this point.
5
@3 I am not sure, but I think that is exactly what she ran up against. She said this; "...I found out I wouldn’t get paid a single day for my maternity leave, being a few hours short to qualify".
6

Mothering a newborn is a full time job for years.
Is she asking for 6 or 12 or 18 years of paid leave?
If not mothering her child will be a hobby she squeezes into her few free hours a day.
(Hours after she has worked a full shift, when she is exhausted and harried...)
We've never met her baby but we suspect they deserve better.
We don't recall Hillary, The Woman's Candidate™, advocating that women who want to be full time mothers should be supported by society in that option.
We don't recall any candidate advocating that.
Feminism has been very effective is distorting the national conversation about what women's options should be.
Mothering and Homemaking are not on the list.
7
@3 Would your opinion of this be different if she was a desk job corporate employee as opposed to fancy fast food employee? Yeah, its terrible timing and yeah, maybe not the smartest decision but typically, women who sit at a desk don't get this kind of question asked of them because we distinguish those jobs as more meaningful than someone who stands behind a counter and slings coffee. Yes, they are different skill sets in theory but I know plenty of morons who sit at a desk, so one job is not necessarily better other than theoretically better paying.
9
@7: Not sure. I guess it would depend on how many hours the person with the desk job worked each week. We sort of presume those jobs are full-time, while a barista's job isn't necessarily.

That said, none of this should be decided by an employer. It seems that most civilized societies have publicly-funded maternity leave (and prenatal care).
10
@9 Agreed on the employer front. I'm still constantly surprised that we lag as a country far behind everyone else as this seems kind of a no brainer. There are more politically conservative places in the world that have managed to get over the wall of this situation without it being the hill to die on.

I think there's a lot about this story that's missing in terms of details. Granted we're not entitled to know any of her personal information but I think its also worth considering if Starbucks is one of the better paying alternatives where she lives. Ohio, outside of their largeish 3 major cities, is generally pretty rural and having myself lived in the rural and semi-rural Midwest, even desk jobs can pay less than Starbucks and offer worse benefits. I think its easier in large urban cities for us to see service industry jobs as the thing college kids and older adults do as a stepping stone to something else. As a result, we see these jobs as transient and for many people that is the case. But in less urban areas, where there are way fewer opportunities and picking up and moving isn't an option for a number of reasons, service jobs and non-desk centered skilled labor is what there is to get as a job.

The few desk jobs on offer while not better paying often have crazy competition to secure. I beat out 78 other applicants for a desk job in Kansas once. I made less than $500 every 2 weeks even though I worked full time. They only offered catastrophic insurance benefits. But still, it was coveted because you could sit down all day instead of processing chickens for dogfood, working outside in the freezing winter wind, or working at McDonalds and standing all day.
11
I don't have kids, don't want kids...where's my free money?
12
As someone who was very close to the formulation process on this policy, I can assure you this decision was not taken lightly. Actually, Starbucks would have instituted a competitive parental leave policy long ago if they we're comfortable doing so with just the corporate partners. Instead, the company preference is for benefits to be equitable across retail and corporate/field positions. However, Starbucks was falling behind market baseline for parental leave, especially in the Seattle market. They needed to catch up, or confirm us hemorrhaging talent to more competitive employers, such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. This policy is key in attracting tech and supply chain talent, especially women. The unfortunate fact is that paying leave for a relatively small number of highly-skilled employees is a simple business case to build in today's economy, but the case falls apart when scaled to the hourly retail base. We would have loved to see the same benefit extended to all benefits-eligible partners, retail or otherwise, but the cost is not yet supported by the powers that be.
13
@12, "the cost is not yet supported by the powers that be".

How many beverages are made at Starbucks all across the nation? How many pastries are sold? Pre-packaged food? Other items?

What's the revenue on those?

Why can't you support both full and part time employees, both corporate and retail partners? Are they not "partners"? If not, then you can stop calling them that.

Honesty in employment.
14
Let's all give Bill Clinton a standing ovation for ending Aid to Families with Dependent Children, leaving the welfare of mothers and young children up to state and local government and the whims of employers. US rates of single-mother and child poverty have skyrocketed since then, so obviously the market is successfully disciplining those feckless parasites. A couple/few years back, Mother Jones listed Starbucks as one of the US's top ten low-wage employers, along with Walmart and McDonald's. It's no surprise that their paid maternity leave program is more bullshit than beef.
15
@11 You'll get that free money back when Medicare pays for your hospice and/or home care, systems that will be operated by those kids you funded.

Or at least that's sort of how it works today, at least until it's defunded because of Republican thinking like, "I don't have kids, don't want kids...where's my free money?"
16
Yawn! This sort of human interest storing is not only propaganda but it is incredibly boring too. I have the benefits that were offered to me in my employment--which are not as good as these losers get--and I agreed to accept them rather than declining the position. These are the choices that adults have to make in a life that is marked by freedom. I have little sympathy for people that are wont to publicly complain in a staged media events rather than apply this effort to accumulating marketable skills or searching for better venues for their labor. Sure this sort of activism is their right. Crying and wailing on the floor in a tantrum would also be within their rights but it is how they act to get what they want that really matters and this quasi-tantrum where they demand more than what they agreed to because, well, they are awesome? Who knows!

Whatever the case, boring things are boring. Yawn!

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