Whole Foods doesn't give employees paid maternity leave, and some corporate staffers say it's having an alarming effect

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Business Insider/Hayley Peterson

  • Amazon-owned Whole Foods offers no paid parental leave to employees.
  • In interviews with Business Insider, nine current and former corporate Whole Foods employees described the lack of paid leave for new mothers as alarming.
  • "I can't tell you how many crying mothers I spoke to who were completely shocked by the benefits," said one former human resources employee.
  • Whole Foods said employees can use accrued paid time off for parental leave purposes. "At Whole Foods Market, we offer an egalitarian benefits structure that provides all of our 95,000+ Team Members with the same caliber of benefits," a Whole Foods spokesperson said. "
  • Amazon, which offers its own employees up to 20 weeks of paid maternity leave, did not respond to a request for comment.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Whole Foods offers no paid maternity or paternity leave to its employees, and some corporate staffers say it seems to have driven women away from the company.

In interviews with Business Insider, nine current and former corporate Whole Foods employees described the lack of paid leave for new mothers in particular as alarming.Advertisement

"I was a mother and having to convince other moms or future moms that no maternity leave was okay... it weighed on me," said one former employee, who said she left Whole Foods in part due to the lack of paid parental leave. This person and others spoke to Business Insider on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, though Business Insider confirmed their identities.

Many people assume Whole Foods has generous parental leave policies because of the company's strong emphasis on health and wellness, employees said.

In fact, some corporate staffers didn't realize the company offered no paid parental leave until they got pregnant, according to one former human resources employee.
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"I can't tell you how many crying mothers I spoke to who were completely shocked by the benefits," this person said. "The maternity policy was not what they were expecting and they were very upset about how Whole Foods would support them."

In response to this story, Whole Foods said it offers a "centralized paid time off system." Employees, which the company calls team members, can use their PTO hours for illness, holidays, vacations, or parental leave, the company said. "At Whole Foods Market, we offer an egalitarian benefits structure that provides all of our 95,000+ Team Members with the same caliber of benefits," a Whole Foods spokesperson said. "Our centralized paid time off system allows Team Members to choose how to spend those hours across sick, holiday, vacation or maternity/paternity leave."Advertisement

Read the full story on Whole Foods' maternity leave here.

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