Dollar General offers new parental leave, adoption assistance policies

Dollar General announced Thursday it will offer new parental leave and adoption assistance benefits to all eligible full- and part-time employees.

Birth mothers will receive a total of eight weeks of paid leave – two weeks of paid parental leave and an additional six weeks of paid maternity leave – while all other parents will get two weeks of paid parental leave, the company said.

The Tennessee-based retailer also said it would provide employees up to $4,000 in adoption assistance.

"Through these additional benefits, Dollar General is building on its mission of Serving Others and its operating priority to invest in its people as a competitive advantage," Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos said in a statement. "The paid parental leave and adoption assistance benefits will support our employees and their families with financial assistance during the exciting time of welcoming a child."

The new benefits take effect April 1 and are available to the employees at the company’s 14,000-plus retail locations, 15 distribution centers and corporate offices. Dollar General said the policies are subject to employees meeting certain requirements, including eligibility requirements.

Fellow American retailer Walmart announced earlier this year it would expand its parental and maternity leave policy. The changes, which began last month, provide full-time hourly employees in the U.S. with 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. Salaried associates now receive six weeks of paid parental leave.

Walmart, the nation’s largest private retailer employing about 2.3 million people worldwide, is now providing financial assistance to its employees who are adopting a child. The benefit, available to full-time hourly and salaried associates, totals $5,000 per child and may be used for adoption agency fees, translation fees and legal or court costs, the company said.

Still, only 13% of private sector workers in the U.S. have any paid family leave, according to PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States, a nonprofit organization advocating for paid family leave for every worker in the U.S. The only other country without any national maternity leave policy is Papua New Guinea, the organization said.

“Traditionally, paid leave has been an elite benefit and Dollar General shows real leadership in making their paid leave benefits apply to all full and part-time employees. Unfortunately, the amount of leave available is far less than many of their competitors … and far behind what American pediatricians recommend for optimal infant and maternal health,” Annie Sartor, workplace program director at PL+US: Paid Leave for the US, told FOX Business in an email. “The new paid leave policies at Dollar General, Walmart, and a number of other major companies suggest a sea change is afoot for working families in this country, and that Congress needs to catch up,” she added.