• Press

September 27, 2016
Contact: Tim Rusch, 917-399-0236

ROC United and Family Values @ Work Commend Union Square Hospitality Group for Innovative Paid Parental Leave Policy

Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, a national organization of 18,000 restaurant workers, employers and consumers, aims to improve wages and working conditions of 11 million restaurant workers. Family Values @ Work (FV@W), a network of coalitions in 24 states, is the nation’s leader in advocating for paid family leave and paid sick days. Both organizations extend kudos to Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) for its innovative paid parental leave policy.

Today, USHG announced a new Parental Leave program for all full time employees. After a one-year tenure, employees will be eligible for 8 weeks of paid parental leave. Specifically, employees will receive 100% of the base hourly rate for the first four weeks of leave and 60% of the base hourly rate for the remaining four weeks.

“Union Square Hospitality Group is showing true leadership by providing a family-first parental leave policy,” said ROC United Executive Director, Saru Jayaraman. “Their paid parental leave policy is both innovative, fair, and sets the bar for employers in the restaurant industry.”

This move by USHG is yet another sign that businesses support fair wages and better working conditions for restaurant workers. USHG is a member of ROC United’s RAISE (Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment), a national employer association who have taken the high road to profitability.

“We applaud USHG for being a pioneer on paid leave in the restaurant industry, as it has been on pay,” says Family Values @ Work Executive Director, Ellen Bravo. “ USHG’s paid parental leave policy will allow their employees to be more productive while being better providers and caregivers to their families.”

In addition to its paid parental leave policy, last year USHG eliminated the subminimum wage for tipped workers and ended tipping in its restaurants. USHG phased out the two-tiered wage system and pays one fair wage to all its employees.

ROC United is calling for the complete elimination of the subminimum wage for tipped workers. Rather, ROC United supports one fair minimum wage for all working people. Currently seven states have one fair wage for all workers. These states boast stronger restaurant industry job growth and lower power rates among tipped workers that states with a subminimum wage. Conclusively, one fair wage is better for the economy and better for families.

The coalitions in the Family Values @ Work network have won paid family leave in four states, with more wins on the horizon. A growing body of evidence shows that paid leave programs contribute to increased financial stability and better workforce outcomes. However, FV@W recognizes that many smaller employers are not in a position to do this on their own. That’s why so many businesses are joining with coalitions across the country to work for paid family and medical leave insurance funds, to help all employers be able to compete and all families to succeed.

With the One Fair Wage and paid parental leave movements heating up across the nation, ROC United and Family Values @ Work are seizing the moment to pass worker friendly legislation. ROC United’s members – whether employer, consumer or worker – stand with Family Values @ Work at the forefront of just workplace policies including one fair wage for restaurant workers and generous paid parental leave for all.

Tipped Worker Facts

–       48% of restaurant workers live at or near the poverty line

–       Nearly 70% of restaurant workers are women

–       90% of restaurant workers have been sexually harassed on the job

–       The Federal tipped minimum wage is $2.13. It was last raised in 1991

–       1 in 7 tipped workers rely on food stamps

–      11% of restaurant workers have access to paid sick leave, and even fewer have access to paid family leave (National Health Interview Survey 2014).




Co-founded by leading workers’ rights advocate Saru Jayaraman, (One of the top 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry” – Nation’s Restaurant News), ROC United’s 18,000 worker members, 200 employer members, and thousands of consumer members have won over 15 worker led campaigns, recovering over $10 million in stolen tips and wages nationwide.