Apple to offer paid parental leave and more sick days to retail employees

Apple Store workers have complained of subpar working conditions during the pandemic

Noah Berger / reuters

Apple will expand benefits for all of its retail employees in the US, beginning April 4th. Bloomberg reports the new benefits include increased vacation and sick days, paid parental leave and more. It will impact both full-time and part-time employees across all 270 Apple Stores nationwide.

The tech giant’s offer of more generous benefits didn’t come out of the blue. Apple, like many corporations, is having a tough time recruiting and retaining hourly workers in a tight labor market. A number of media outlets, including The Verge, Gizmodo, 9to5Mac and others have reported on the grim realities of Apple’s retail operations, which include low pay, stressful workloads and low employee morale. Staffing shortages due to Covid-19 led to many stores operating on reduced hours or closing altogether. Dozens of Apple employees staged a Christmas Eve walkout in order to protest their working conditions. The testimony of these workers presents a stark contrast to Apple's financial standing during the pandemic, which has produced several consecutive record-breaking quarters.

Apple will double the number of paid sick days for both full-time and part-time employees. Full-time retail employees will receive 12 sick days instead of six. The company will also be more lenient in granting sick leave, allowing workers to use sick leave for mental health days or in order to take family members to the doctor. Part-time workers will also receive paid vacation days and paid parental leave for up to six weeks.

The company’s benefits expansion follows similar moves by Amazon, Walmart and Fedex to retain hourly and front-line employees. Thousands of frontline workers have since quit or retired due to stressful and dangerous working conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic. But labor rights advocates point out that many of these improvements, such as bonuses or hazard pay, are either temporary or have since been rolled back.