Paid parental leave is pretty much nonexistent in the restaurant industry but one restaurateur is hoping it change that. According to Businessweek, Franz Speilvogel, the owner of Laughing Plant Cafe, plans to give all of his employees three months of fully paid parental leave. Laughing Planet Cafe is a chain with 14 locations across Oregon and Nevada. Speilvogel tells Businessweek that he made the decision last week "after a pregnant store manager expressed concerns that she wouldn't be able to take any maternity leave."
The chain's new paid-leave policy applies to mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents, as well as part-time employees.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act currently only offers 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and is mandated for full-time workers only. Speilvogel decided to take the concept to a different level: The chain's new paid-leave policy applies to mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents, as well as part-time employees. Business Insider writes that full-time workers will get their full salary during the leave, while part-timers will receive an average of their last six months of pay.
While Speilvogel says that this was was a "human decision," not a business one, he admits it gives him a fiscal advantage. After doing the math, he determined that "the costs of hiring and training a new employee would likely outweigh the costs of paying a worker parental leave." Instead, current employees could fill-in for those on leave.
While Speilvogel is one of the first to implement such a policy, many other restaurants are starting to take steps towards giving their employees benefits such as healthcare and paid sick leave. One restaurant in Pittsburgh is even going so far as to eliminate tipping and placing full-time employees on a salary instead. Not only is the restaurant capping how many hours an employee can work, they are offering each worker ten days of paid vacation as well. Are benefits the future of the restaurant industry? All signs point to yes.