This Restaurant Chain Found A Way To Offer Workers 3 Months Of Paid Parental Leave

Laughing Planet CafeFacebook/Laughing Planet CafeA worker at a Laughing Planet Cafe location in Portland.

A restaurant chain is giving all 280 of its employees three months of paid parental leave thanks to the plight of a single worker.

Laughing Planet CafĂ©, which has 14 locations in Oregon and Nevada, decided to implement the new policy — which is largely unprecedented in the restaurant industry — after a pregnant store manager expressed concerns about not being able to take maternity leave, Businessweek reports.

“She’s entering her final trimester, and she talked about the circumstances of being an employee in my company and what she’s faced with,” Laughing Planet’s owner and chief executive Franz Speilvogel told Businessweek. “I told her, let me think about it and get back to you.”

Speilvogel did the maths and determined that the costs of hiring and training a new employee would likely outweigh the costs of paying a worker parental leave.

Instead of hiring someone new, he could have other workers fill in for the three months that someone is on parental leave.

“It wasn’t a business decision to do this, it was a human decision,” Speilvogel told Businessweek. “But as a business owner, I also think it will pay off down the road.”

Laughing Planet CafeFacebook/Laughing Planet CafeThe inside of Laughing Planet Cafe.

Only 6% of service workers get paid family leave in the US, as Businessweek points out.

Under Laughing Planet’s new policy, full-time workers will get their full salary for three months and part-time workers will receive an average of their last 6 months of pay.

Dozens of people have commented on the chain’s Facebook page to praise the new policy, which will apply to new fathers, mothers, and adoptive parents.

“Thank you so much for doing this!” wrote Facebook user Claire Hawkins Miller. “Maternity leave in the US is PITIFUL! I’m so glad to see a company doing this, and hopefully we’ll see a trend in companies choosing this for their employees!”

Trevor Warren wrote, “We’ll definitely be eating there more often. Well done.”

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