Tee hee

Jess resents having to make the choice at all so soon after giving birth. As a retail employee of the country’s most profitable coffee chain, she is entitled to six weeks of parental leave at partial pay after Roman is born. (Her leave will probably be unpaid, since she has worked at Starbucks for less than one year.) But starting on 1 October, employees at Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters – just an hour’s drive from Jess’s home – and its other corporate offices will be entitled to 16 weeks of fully paid leave upon giving birth, and fathers or adoptive parents will get 12.

Announcing the new policy in January, Starbucks called it “reflective of our mission and commitment to be a different kind of company and put our people first”.

But the new policy doesn’t increase the length of leave for in-store workers who give birth, or for new fathers and adoptive parents, who will continue to get none.

Paid maternity leave is part of the total compensation on offer for the job being done.

The management bods get higher total compensation than the baristas. What is so hard about this to understand?

Do note that this is absolutely nothing at all to do with whether there should be tax paid maternity leave in the US, as there is in the UK. Rather, this whining is “why do those other people get more than I do.” Well, because of the job you do.

As the company’s announcement received laudatory headlines, Jess joined a group of Starbucks baristas and store managers in asking the company: why are we treated differently?

“It is in no way fair to the average worker,” Jess says. “You can’t have corporate without us. So why would one have a better benefit than the other?”

Why should they be getting higher compensation at all?

22 thoughts on “Tee hee”

  1. True, but then Starbucks HQ shouldn’t have received laudatory headlines. My guess is the journos read the press release headline “Starbucks To Offer 16 Weeks Maternity Pay”, and churned it into an article.

  2. @BiS: cue gnashing of teeth in the comments about ‘greedy corporations’ yet no-one wants to touch on parents having kids they can’t support…

  3. Hang on, she expects 16 weeks paid maternity leave in a basic job she’s had for less than a year?

    Srsly?

    Work there less than a year and get a third of a year off, paid?

  4. To be fair, the chances of 90% of those in HQ doing anything remotely useful are slim. I can see why employees at the sharp end get pissed off with power skirts with psychology degrees working in the diversity department awarding themselves hefty compensation packages. I don’t mean to come across as all Communist here, but there is a serious problem with bureaucrats and managers in major corporations becoming increasingly divorced from the actual tasks which make the company money.

  5. @JuliaM

    They already are being replaced by machines- Costa Express are everywhere. The arseholes filling up at my local garage use them, turning a 30 second transaction to pay for fuel into a fifteen minute kaffeeklatsch.

  6. A FOURTH child displaying her brilliant panning and what if money is such an issue she can’t delay having a child for 13 weeks.

  7. abacab,

    You obviously never worked in a New University then.

    And as for Tim Newman (I can’t believe that you are a New Man!), wouldn’t you agree that when a corporation reaches a certain size, it is indistinguishable from a State-run operation?

  8. I can’t believe that you are a New Man

    Getting older by the day!

    wouldn’t you agree that when a corporation reaches a certain size, it is indistinguishable from a State-run operation?

    Absolutely.

  9. Look Jess, just wade out of the paddy field, drop the sprog, clean it up, fix it to your tit then get back in there picking rice.

    Two hours max.

  10. John Square,

    > They already are being replaced by machines – Costa Express are everywhere.

    And yet they charge more than nearby human-made coffee shops. Coffee drinkers are willing to pay a considerable premium for convenience.

  11. The arseholes filling up at my local garage use them, turning a 30 second transaction to pay for fuel into a fifteen minute kaffeeklatsch.

    Meanwhile, those of us who just want to pay for our fuel and get on with our journey have to wait patiently in line for them. Bah!

  12. @Tim N – You say 90% of HQ staff do nothing useful, but Starbucks clearly values them higher than the bean monkeys.

    As Starbucks has a market cap of $80bn, I am going to trust that its execs know best who they need to reward and retain.

  13. @ Longrider- exactly- I was stuck behind some twat in a Range Rover (or more accurately, some twat outside his Range Rover), who bought twenty quids worth of fuel, and who then vanished inside for 15 minutes to get a coffee.

    Petrol station was heaving, and I was queuing to get to the pump. No option for me to grab a coffee, leave the vehicle or anything. Couldn’t even change pumps (partly because the ‘long reach’ hoses won’t reach the other side of my barn, and partly because the forecourt was packed.

    I get that coffee is a complimentary good to fuel at 8:00am, but the concept hasn’t been worked through- that place is unusable on a weekday between 7:00 and 9:00.

  14. I am quite prepared to believe there are genuine cases of corporate mistreatment of workers and of poorer people in the UK and US who are having a tough time of it, but why can’t the Guardian EVER find a single story that’s not full of wholes?

    Either I am wrong and the amount of real poverty in the US/UK is close to zero or the Graun only employs useless sacks of shit.

  15. In answer to your question Tim, nothing is so hard to understand here.

    The office staff all call themselves progressives, liberals, Democrats and all votes for Hilary last year, as they voted for Obama before her. They all care passionately about the poor and OF COURSE their in-store co-workers. When asked, they will express their support for NO, their solidarity with their co-workers.

    Except they don’t FEEL any of it. They won’t do anything about it, anything at all,,except mouth their platitudes and carry in as before. And they can vote for Hilary and her successors safe in the knowledge that nothing will change for them, least of all their privilege. So of course they believe in increasing the minimum wage, because it won’t be their jobs that get automated.

    The im-store workers know this. So they vote for Donald Trump. He gets them. He may be an arsehole but he gets them. Hey actually who is the arsehole? Is it Trump.or is it me, the smug middle-class college graduate who feels safe in his privilege and finds Trump vulgar?

  16. @MC

    Either I am wrong and the amount of real poverty in the US/UK is close to zero or the Graun only employs useless sacks of shit.

    It is, and they do.

  17. You say 90% of HQ staff do nothing useful, but Starbucks clearly values them higher than the bean monkeys.

    You mean Starbucks managers in HQ value Starbucks managers in HQ more highly than people they never meet in far-flung outlets? Yeah, probably.

    As Starbucks has a market cap of $80bn, I am going to trust that its execs know best who they need to reward and retain.

    Well, yes. But like politicians of seemingly solvent countries spending money on themselves, I am skeptical as to how sustainable this is in the long term.

  18. Bloke in Tejas in Normandy

    The big difference between a large, ill-managed company and a government is that the large ill-managed company will likely get run out of business one of these days. (It never happens quickly, perhaps for momentum reasons).

    Because I worked for them for a while, Motorola is the most obvious such company with which I’ve had actual experience. The incompetence extended entirely naturally to the spinoff, Freescale, until the owners finally attracted a competent fellow. Who went away when the bean-counting arseholes in NXP bought Freescale. But now they’re about to be bought by Qualcomm, so I expect a bit of blood on the executive furniture.

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