GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (AP) — General Mills is giving its employees more paid time off to care for an aging parent or ill family members and to bond with their newborns and adoptive children.

The Minnesota-based food giant unveiled an expanded paid time-off policy on Wednesday, the Star Tribune reported. The updated policy for new parents and family caregivers is designed to keep the company competitive among its peers.

"To be honest, we were starting to fall behind," said Jacqueline Williams-Roll, chief human resource officer at General Mills. "Our goal is to attract and retain superior talent."

New parents will receive 12 weeks of paid time off, and new mothers will get an additional six to eight weeks for their physical recovery after giving birth. Caregivers will get two weeks paid time off every year to help immediate family members struggling with serious health conditions. All of the new time off is at full pay.

"This is a very practical benefit — access to take paid time off — that workers need but still far too few people have," said Vicki Shabo, vice president of workplace policies for the National Partnership for Women and Families.

The policy will go into effect in January. Currently, new moms receive six weeks paid time off under the company's policy. New dads, adoptive parents and partners get two weeks paid time off.

About 16 percent of U.S. civilian workers, as of December 2017, had access to paid family leave, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

___

Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com