Danny Meyer's latest restaurant innovation

The U.S. ranks last on this important issue
The U.S. ranks last on this important issue

Danny Meyer has another idea to shake up the restaurant industry -- paid leave for new parents.

Meyer already made waves when he announced plans to eliminate tipping by year's end at his 13 restaurants, including Manhattan's Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern.

Now he's offering a perk that's uncommon in the restaurant industry. Starting January 1, full-time employees who have worked at the restaurant for a year will be able to take four weeks of leave at full pay after the birth or adoption of a child. They can take an additional four weeks at 60% of their base wage.

The benefit applies to men and women working the front and back of the house, from servers and hosts to cooks and dishwashers.

The news was first reported by Eater.

Related: This restaurant killed tipping...and now it's bringing it back

"As workers continued to grow in their career, their life needs change, and we wanted to recognize that and honor that," Erin Moran, chief culture officer at Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group, told CNNMoney.

She said most workers at Meyer's restaurants are full-time, and are welcoming the new policy. It could also help attract and retain workers -- tough to do in an industry plagued with high turnover.

"I think that other restaurants will have to take note of this, just like they have with the no tipping policy, and will have to decide how and if they will compete with him," Robin DiPietro, director of the International Institute for Foodservice Research and Education at the University of South Carolina, said in an email.

"There is a tough market out there with not as many great employees as there are jobs in the restaurant business (especially casual and upscale restaurants), so this is a great way to encourage employees to stay and to become invested in the business."

Related: How a chef shortage could change your dining experience

Paid family leave has become a hot topic this election season. The United States is the only developed nation that doesn't guarantee it. Federal law only requires employers to offer eligible new parents 12 weeks of unpaid leave, plus job protection.

Some companies have stepped up to offer paid family leave, but we still have far to go. According to a June 2015 government report, only 12% of the private sector workers get paid family leave.

Meyer and his team have been at the forefront of creating better work-life balance for his employees.

The no-tipping policy, announced last October, was meant to narrow the pay discrepancy between cooks and servers. In most restaurants, servers and hosts get a base wage plus tips. Cooks and other back-house workers usually aren't eligible for tips.

To compensate for the change, Meyer raised menu prices and created a revenue-sharing program for the servers to help stabilize their pay.

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