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April 28, 2016

Camden's Campbell's Soup Co. adopts 10 paid weeks of parental leave for primary caregivers

CEO Denise Morrison explains decision in letter to employees

Campbell's Soup Co. announced Thursday that it will institute a new policy offering 10 paid weeks of parental leave for primary caregivers and two fully paid weeks of leave for nonprimary caregivers following the birth or adoption of a child.

Denise Morrison, CEO of the Camden-based company, explained the new policy in a letter to employees.

"Today’s paid parental leave announcement exemplifies the “That Matters for Life’s Moments” part of our Purpose and is equally at the core of who we are and what we do. As we strive to build a purpose-driven culture and create a supportive and challenging workplace, we need to look carefully at what matters to our employees ...

"The decision to offer paid parental leave resonated with me, personally. As the mother of two daughters, I know how important it is for families to be together with a new baby during those first few months. I remember how challenging it was when I was pregnant and just starting my career journey and I want to make it better for the next generation of parents."

Morrison goes on to recall that when she was pregnant, her boss at the time told her that if she did not get back to work immediately after six weeks, a replacement would be more than ready and willing to take her place. Even though she was overwhelmed with the challenges of early parenthood, she rushed back to work in order to keep her job and provide for her family.

The choice to move forward with the policy was inspired by Campbell's Plum Organics team, which develops toddler and kid snack food products.

"As a leading organic baby food company, Plum felt it needed to “walk the talk” and give its employees the chance to enjoy time with their families. As we listened to their rationale and looked across the company, we realized that we had an opportunity to be bold and challenge ourselves to do what we believe is in the best interest of all our U.S.-based Campbell families."

New Jersey, California and Rhode Island are the only states in the U.S. to offer paid family and medical leave. Their programs, which vary in length and percentage of average weekly pay, are funded by employee-paid payroll taxes and administered through each state's disability program.

"With the announcement of this new benefit, we are taking a leading position within the U.S. food industry with respect to parental leave, and we will be at least on par with many other global consumer packaged goods companies."

The United States remains the only country in the world without federally mandated paid maternity leave for new mothers.

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