This Is People's Biggest Criticism Against Whole Foods

Although Whole Foods can't compete head-to-head with retailers like Kroger, Walmart, and Costco, it's still one of the most popular grocery chains in America, with an estimated $16 billion in sales in 2017 (via The Balance), the year the company was acquired by Amazon (via The New York Times). 

However, representatives of the company say that the company's policy of not providing maternity leave to employees has "driven women away from the company." According to interviews with nine current and former employees who worked for the company's corporate department, some employees didn't even realize that the company doesn't offer parental leave until they became pregnant (via Business Insider). 

Some of them assumed that because the company features health and wellness as one of its core stated values (via Motley Fool), they believed that maternity leave for employees, especially at the corporate level, would be a given. "I can't tell you how many crying mothers I spoke to who were completely shocked by the [lack of] benefits," said one interviewee who wished to remain anonymous.

How Whole Foods responds to this criticism

Whole Foods responded to the charge that they don't provide maternity leave by instead priding themselves on the fact that they offer an "egalitarian... structure" with the same "caliber of benefits" to workers across all teams from grocery to management. The company encourages its employees to use their paid time off to care for their newborns. 

However, this may not come as particularly surprising news in the United States, which comes in last out of the 41 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) countries when it comes to providing time off to new parents (via CNBC). Amazon, on the other hand, which still owns Whole Foods, offers its employees 20 weeks of paid maternity leave. In fact, there have also been reports of spouses who don't work at the company being paid by Amazon to take time off in order to spend it with the newborn.