Since our founding in 1969, we’ve grown up from a single store to become one of the nation’s top employers. In that time, we’ve given well over 1 million people their first job and for many of us, myself included, Gap Inc. and our family of brands has been a place to grow a great career. To attract and retain the best talent in the business, we’re continually making investments in programs and benefits that will have a positive impact on our employees’ well-being.
Today we announced the expansion of our benefits to include paid parental bonding leave -- 12 weeks of leave that include six weeks of leave at 100% of pay and six additional weeks at 50% of pay. We are proud to support employees with new family members, regardless of how those families are formed. I’m excited that we are extending this benefit to a broad section of our employees in the U.S., including our hourly workers who’ve worked at least 24 hours a week for the past year. This new benefit will go into effect on October 1, 2018.
Our parental bonding leave policy is a strong competitive move that demonstrates our support for working families. It builds on other important steps we’ve taken to invest in our people and positively impact our employees’ well-being and experience at our company. We were the first U.S. retailer to raise the minimum wage to $10 in 2015. We’re also the first Fortune 500 company to have our pay data independently verified to confirm we pay women and men equally for equal work.
We could not succeed as a company without exceptional people who make our company what it is today, and by helping our people succeed, we all succeed.