SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Hannaford Supermarkets announced Wednesday new parental leave benefits for qualifying full and part-time employees. This new policy, which will take effect on September 1st, provides six weeks of leave with full pay for associates, regardless of gender.

The benefits can be used during the first twelve months following the birth, adoption, or legal placement of a child. 

“We see and appreciate that there is a wide spectrum of circumstances that brings families together and we want to ensure we live up to what it means to be an inclusive employer in how we extend our care and support,” said Margo Peffer, Vice President of Human Resources at Hannaford in a news release.

Hannaford is the second-largest private employer in the state of Maine with roughly 9,000 associates, according to Peffer.

Hannaford is the latest Maine-based company to comply with a national trend of expanding parental leave benefits. 

In May of 2018, a Maine law firm, Bernstein Shur, rolled out new benefits to include 16 weeks of paid leave for men and women. That policy also included parents who grew their family by way of birth, adoption, or foster care.

In 2016, WEX improved its family-focused benefits to provide full-time U.S. employees up to six weeks of fully paid parental leave in addition to its existing maternity leave allowance of six to eight weeks of leave as short-term disability. 

J.P. Morgan Chase, which established a commercial banking presence in Maine in 2018, expanded its benefits this summer to include financial help for LGBTQ employees seeking fertility treatments or surrogacy assistance. 

According to an internal memo sent out in June obtained by NEWS CENTER Maine, employees without a medical diagnosis of infertility will have a new benefit that may cover up to $30,000 for fertility services like in vitro fertilization. Also, employees seeking surrogacy assistance will see an increase in reimbursement for related costs from $10,000 to $30,000.

The New York-based firm’s parental leave policy provides eligible employees with 16 weeks of fully-paid leave for primary parental caregivers and six weeks of fully-paid leave for non-primary parental caregivers.

It also provides financial assistance for adoption-related expenses, up to $10,000 per child.

J.P. Morgan Chase has more than 2,200 employees working in New England, mainly in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.

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There is no federally mandated paid parental leave in the U.S. however some states do mandate it like California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.