By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — IKEA is expanding its parental leave policies for the company’s U.S. employees. The new policies go into effect at the beginning of the new year.

IKEA’s U.S. headquarters is located in Conshohocken. Nabeela Ixtabalan, country human resource manager for IKEA US, says their newly announced parental leave policies include 12 weeks of leave for employees that have been with the company for at least a year, with half of that time at full pay and the rest of the leave at half-pay.

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“And then a coworker that’s been with us for at least three years will get 16 weeks of parental leave,” Ixtabalan said. That’s eight weeks at 100% and then eight weeks at 50%.”

She says parental leave is accessible to everyone.

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“Salaried and hourly. It’s irregardless of how you may introduce a child into your home,” Ixtabalan said. “So whether it’s adoptive or natural birth and it’s also gender neutral; so it’s accessible both to moms and dads, regardless of the constellation of your family makeup.”

Ixtabalan  says by focusing on the well-being and happiness of employees, the company expects to lower its already low turnover rate, thus creating a more knowledgable and experienced workforce. She says better benefits make for happier employees, which pays off with better customer service.

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“Jobs are getting more complicated, coworkers are going to need more digital competence, they’re going to have to understand more about a wider range of products,” she said. “Customers have different demands — so the longer we can keep a coworker, the more competent they are, the more confident they are in their experience at IKEA and that’s going to deliver better service to our customers.”