SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Tyson Foods announced Tuesday it was adding a parental leave policy to its benefits.

The program will now have eight weeks of paid leave for mothers and two weeks of paid leave for spouses. The program will also offer four weeks of paid parental leave for adoptive parents.

Johanna Soderstrom, the chief people officer for Tyson Foods, said this has been an incredibly important decision to make. It ensures people come to work feeling cared for and committed.

“I think this gives stability and assurance that you will be okay. We will take care of you. You can come back to work when the time is right for you,” said Soderstrom.

According to Soderstrom, only 24% of companies in the U.S. offered some sort of maternity leave in 2022. As for what will come next, she said these decisions need to be made one step at a time.

“We feel we were breaking ground. We’re doing something revolutionary for our people. That is the true importance to us, to do the right thing,” said Soderstrom.

The benefits will also not just cover salaried team members but hourly members as well. Every single team member across the U.S. will reap the benefits.

Soderstrom hopes more companies will follow suit and consider benefits for their workers like this.

“I think there are many companies trying to figure out what is the right fit and right mix of benefits. And again, you have to make a lot of choices in today’s world, and what is things that really matter to your team members,” said Soderstrom.

This is the first time Tyson Foods has had a full-fledged parental leave benefit program. The company previously used FMLA, which is an opportunity to apply for short-term disability, which is normally a short period of time.

Walmart is also changing its policy surrounding parental leave. On Feb. 1, it expanded its parental pay policy for salaried associates from 6 weeks to 12 weeks.