Starbucks expands its paid sick leave and parental leave after tax cuts — and employee requests

The world’s largest coffee chain is adding perks for its employees in the wake of the U.S. tax cuts, announcing a wage increase and one-time bonus in the form of a stock grant, just as dozens of companies have done in recent weeks.

Yet it is also expanding paid sick leave and parental leave for many new dads, adding its name to the much smaller but growing list of companies using the recent tax cuts to expand benefits for workers. Disney said Tuesday it would be investing an initial $50 million into a tuition benefit for hourly employees, in addition to making a one-time bonus. Walmart said last week it would expand paid family leave for hourly workers. Companies like Visa and Nationwide Mutual Insurance said they would be offering higher matches in 401(k) plans. And some have expanded benefits in employees’ health-care offerings.

Cutting such benefits in the future can be awkward for companies — even if simpler than trimming base pay — and could have a more lasting effect than a one-time bonus. Companies are trying to stand out among a crowded and increasingly competitive labor market by offering benefits that may pique the interest of workers or help retain them. According to 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, only about 35 percent of workers in the accommodation and food services industry have access to paid sick days.

Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said the company’s announcement was another way Starbucks aims to build on its brand of offering benefits to workers other retail employers do not.

“Historically, we’ve shown we’re constantly thinking of ways for partners to share in our company’s success, from health care to stock grants,” he said. 

Starbucks employees, whom the company calls “partners,” can now accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, extending a benefit that previously had been offered only to those in states where the law required it. Workers may use the benefit if they or a family member gets sick, and the company said an employee working 25 hours a week could expect to accrue about five days of sick time over a year.

Borges said employees had asked for expanded sick leave benefits and the company had been contemplating the move well before the passage of the new tax law. But the tax cuts, he said, helped to “accelerate our ability to do it.” Employees had signed online petitions calling for paid sick leave and other benefits, and they had raised questions about disparities in the parental leave benefit offered to store and non-store workers.

The expansion of paid sick leave at Starbucks also fits with a trend workplace experts predicted would occur after state and local laws passed in recent years created a challenge for human resource departments at national companies. Many thought the patchwork of paid sick leave laws would lead employers to expand benefits workers receive in, say, New York and California, to simplify their processes.

Starbucks’ announcement is evidence that may be happening. Vicki Shabo, vice president for workplace policies and strategies for the National Partnership for Women & Families, called the paid sick leave program “an extremely welcome sign” and said in an interview that Starbucks had “essentially taken what paid sick leave policies say and extended that to their entire workforce. We will be watching to make sure that what they have said they’ll do is how their partners experience it.” In a statement, the group called the new policy “very welcome corporate leadership.” 

Starbucks also announced Wednesday that it would add six weeks of paid parental leave for its hourly employees who become new dads, a benefit that had been offered only to new mothers and adoptive or foster parents. While that is an improvement from zero weeks, it is still less than the benefit Starbucks offers to its non-store employees. New mothers at Starbucks who make a salaried wage receive 18 weeks of paid leave, and other salaried parents receive 12 weeks.

The company also said it would spend $120 million on giving workers a wage increase in April and $100 million on making a stock grant to workers. Starbucks will announce its quarterly earnings on Thursday.

More companies could choose to announce new benefits for employees, taking advantage of a public relations opportunity the tax law has offered for generating headlines and attention. In recent years, creative or unique perks have increasingly become a way companies attempt to promote how they’re distinct from their peers, adding benefits that go well beyond the usual health-care and retirement perks and include things such as student loan repayment or unlimited vacation. In 2016, the annual employee benefits survey by the Society for Human Resource Management tracked nearly 350 fringe benefits, up from just 60 in its first survey 20 years prior.

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Young players help Boca Raton maintain excellence

Audrey Ramsey’s 3-pointer slid through the basket at the Lakeland Center, and Boca Raton’s 2016-17 season ended in a dogpile. It was the last game for stars Rachel Levy and Grace Marko.

With the two 6-foot seniors, who were The Post’s Co-Players of the Year, graduating, it was assumed the Bobcats would take a step back after the pair led the team to three consecutive trips to the state playoffs.

Instead, Boca Raton (17-5) is once again among the top teams in Palm Beach County, coming in at No. 2 in this week’s rankings as the district tournament draws near.

“People were saying, ‘Boca’s not going to be as good this year,’ ” sophomore captain Grace Alfieri said. “But once we saw the team’s first tryouts, I knew we could do this; we just have to prove people wrong.

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“It was nerve-wracking at first, but I’m pretty sure we proved everyone wrong and we’re better than people expected.”

Alfieri and fellow sophomore Kelsi Mingo have played big roles in keeping the Bobcats competitive. As freshmen, the players split time as the team’s fifth player on the court. Now, they’re both starters and are averaging 18 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game combined.

“I know that I can do it,” Alfieri said. “I fought for (a starting spot) so hard last year; I feel like this year is easier in a way because I know that I earned it.”

Two of the Bobcats’ upperclassmen, Ramsey and forward Hannah Pratt, have also taken on larger roles this year.

Although Ramsey is not an official captain, she plays a key role on the court as the top scoring threat and the team’s point guard. She leads the team with 16.7 points, three assists and two steals per game.

Pratt is second in points (11.4 per game) and leads the team with 2.1 blocks per contest.

“I knew I needed Hannah to step up big-time because in the last three years, she has been a role player,” Nguyen said. “She was never our first scoring option or second, but third, fourth and fifth sometimes. I knew coming in, I needed her to mature as a senior — the only senior — to lead. And she stepped up.”

The Bobcats have a tough stretch of games to end the regular season, taking a road trip to Fort Pierce Central (10-6) tonight, playing crosstown rival and fifth-ranked West Boca Raton (16-3) on Friday and finishing the year with Palm Bay-Heritage (20-3).

Next week, they’ll be the favorites in the District 10-9A tournament (Boca went undefeated in district play) before trying to make a run back to Lakeland.

“Everybody on this team, except our one freshman, has been there before, so it kind of gets rid of the jitters that we usually have during the playoff season,” Pratt said. “But also, we can’t be overconfident.”

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Fight over Boca Raton synagogue hits appeals court

A decade after a Jewish congregation began trying to build a house of worship in Boca Raton, a feud over the plan has spilled into an appeals courtroom.

Three judges heard arguments Wednesday on a resident’s accusations the city of Boca Raton colluded with the Chabad of East Boca Raton, bending zoning rules to allow the new synagogue near the downtown.

Resident Gerald Gagliardi’s legal challenge stems from July 2015, when Boca’s City Council approved of the Jewish congregation’s $10 million project on nearly an acre of land at 770 E. Palmetto Park Road.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Marci Hamilton, a lawyer representing Gagliardi, said the city changed its zoning rules “for the benefit of a single religious entity,” doing it “behind closed doors.”

Gagliardi is appealing his case against the city after a federal judge dismissed it twice since 2015, at the request of the city. Hamilton said her client was ultimately looking to get the zoning reversed.

The city also requested the court toss the most recent attempt. Since the rezoning opened the site to redevelopment for all religious organizations, the city argued the lawsuit didn’t have standing when it came to giving the Chabad preferential treatment.

The case is the latest in a string of lawsuits over the project, which called for a synagogue and museum on a prime piece of real estate east of the Intracoastal Waterway.

There has been a long-running debate over the plan. It drew objections from neighbors, who were mostly concerned about increased traffic. And it brought the support of members of Chabad of East Boca. They were eager to have a synagogue within walking distance, including on Jewish high holidays, in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The congregation says the lawsuit is an attempt to discriminate against houses of worship.

“All we’re asking for is equal treatment,” said Rabbi Ruvi New, head of the Chabad of East Boca Raton. “We’re grateful that the city and our local community have long treated us fairly, and we’re hopeful that the court will protect our right to be equal members of the Boca Raton community.”

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra had thrown out Gagliardi’s lawsuit in March after dismissing it in the summer of 2016, but Gagliardi filed an appeal in June.

It’s unclear when, or if, plans for the site will resurface for the Chabad.

The site plans were rejected by a judicial panel in 2016, and no other versions have been submitted since, according to the Chabad.

The organization is embroiled in a separate lawsuit with the landowner, TJCV Land Trust — the former head of the trust, Irving Litwak, had promised to give the land to the Chabad, but died before that happened, according to the city.

Months later, the city said, Litwak’s son pitched the idea of using the site as a parking lot in a letter to the city.

The hearing on the Gagliardi case began Wednesday in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Miami and is scheduled to resume Thursday.

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10 Ways You Can Start Empowering Your Employees

People create teams to share the workload when tackling problems. Individuals possess a variety of skills and experiences, and each can add to the growth of the project — otherwise, why would they be there?

There is a difference, though, between giving a team step-by-step instructions on what you want to take place, and giving someone a goal and turning them loose. Part of that difference is time: You will gain back a great deal of it each day, which you can then use to focus on other projects.

You also lose stress: Managing every moment as it happens highlights the failure points and generates pushback from employees. Rather than feeling like “If I wasn’t here, nothing could ever happen. They’ll just sit unless I tell them exactly what to do,” you can instead assign a goal andknow that the goal will be accomplished.

So how do you empower your employees to take on new responsibilities or handle tasks on their own? Members of Forbes Coaches Council suggest the following:

Members of Forbes Coaches Council share the top ways you can empower your employees.


1. Stop Micromanaging 

Proper delegation is a win-win for everyone that will help your employees’ success and build trust. Proper delegation involves getting buy-in, commitment, and assessing capability and capacity. Show you have faith in employees by reducing the time you spend monitoring them while they work and implement organizational structures that encourage delegation of authority, responsibility and teamwork. – Lianne LynePLP Coaching, LLC 

2. Put The Ball In Their Court 

Empowering employees is truly about relinquishing the need to control and micromanage their behavior. An excellent way to do this is to simply put the ball in their court. Give them the primary responsibility for creating their outcomes. Show them how being accountable for their achievements translates to adding real value to the company, and how quickly the dividends can add up in their favor. – Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq.WordSmithRapport 

3. Delegate

Sounds flippant, yet I see it at every level of leadership: people who don’t know how to delegate or feel they are unable to do so. Excuses. To give your team members the freedom to use their expertise and tap into their passion, you need to delegate. Let go. Hand over more tasks than what feels comfortable. You will get better at delegation. I rarely see people get better at juggling responsibilities. – Leila Bulling TowneThe Bulling Towne Group, LLC 

4. Align Vision, Values And Mission 

Determine what your employee’s values, vision and mission for their work life are. Align those to the organization’s values, vision and mission. See where there is overlap and unleash the possibilities of that employee. When employees feel like they are working for something that truly aligns with their core values, they will feel empowered and passionate to do their work. – Monica ThakrarMTI 

5. Learn Your Team’s Strengths To Develop Trust 

Leaders with a loyal following take the time to know their team’s strengths, and the level of sophistication each person is at. They then take it a step further and guide the team to know and leverage each other’s strengths, fostering an ecosystem that is dynamic and designed to perform. Trust emerges through this process, further anchoring the team’s desire to bring forth each other’s best. – Alexsys “Lexy” ThompsonTrybal Performance 

6. Give Them Work That Stretches Their Abilities 

At times, individuals fail to develop at work because a manager is reluctant to give them work. At times its because they simply believe a person is not capable of doing the work. Other times they feel someone else does it faster or better. To make an employee feel empowered and help them grow and develop, give them work that stretches them, challenges them and allows them to reach new horizons. – Eddie TurnerEddie Turner LLC 

7. Facilitate A Self-Directed Learning Process 

Facilitate a self-directed learning process during conversations with your employees instead of giving them advice or solutions to a problem. Help them with questions in order to come up with their own answers or solutions, so they can not only take the initiative to pursue a goal and the responsibility for completing the task, but they can learn from the experience.  – Maria Pastore, Maria Pastore Coaching

8. Use Coaching Questions 

Leaders are often so task-focused that they forget to ask their employees their opinion on how to get things done. Questions deepen engagement, create ownership and accountability. Instead of telling, ask open-ended questions about how they will launch their project, achieve their deadline, overcome an obstacle, and get the resources they need. Coaching questions are a key driver for empowerment. – Loren MargolisTraining & Leadership Success LLC 

9. Foster And Empower ‘Solution-Searching’ Individuals 

In order to empower, we must position a culture of “solution-searching” individuals. Foster and empower them with the ability to figure it out, give it a try, dip a toe in the water and take the risk. In order to take risk, they have to feel confident. The only way to increase their confidence is to recognize, inspire and validate them. – Marlo HigginsMarlo Higgins, Your Chief Inspirational Officer 

10. Value Their Ideas And Accomplishments 

Leaders who value and recognize employee input and accomplishments create an environment where employees are more motivated to try harder and produce at their best. Valuing their ideas and feedback builds trust and confidence, which results in self-empowerment. Leaders who have an accurate view of themselves and are focused on others will naturally empower their team. – Melinda Fouts, Ph.D.Success Starts With You 

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Worried About Becoming A Leader? 10 Things You Should Know

Your supervisor is impressed by what you’re doing and has asked if you would like you to take on a little more responsibility. Specifically, they have a project and team they’d like you to oversee. The technical aspects aren’t a problem — you know you know how to tackle the material — but you’re really not sure about leading a group of people.

Team leadership requires developing a new set of skills. You have to be able to juggle personnel issues, assign tasks, manage resources and take responsibility for the end results, as well as inspire team members to stay engaged and creative.

Having concerns is rational: Taking on something new always involves a time of fumbling, and you care about both not creating a mess for the people you’re supposed to lead or damaging your own career by falling on your face. To help, members from Forbes Coaches Council have the following advice for people reluctant to enter a leadership role out of fear they won’t be able to properly manage a team.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council share their top tips for professionals who are worried about stepping into a leadership role.

1. Ask Your Manager Two Questions

Ask two questions of your manager: “What do you think it takes to successfully manage a team?” and “How do you see my strengths helping to build that success?” Check for alignment. Still concerned? Talk with your manager. You may feel that you have to have all the skills on day one, but usually, your manager views the new role as a growth opportunity and will help you thrive. – Edith Onderick-HarveyNextBridge Consulting, LLC

2. Lead Your People And Manage Your Processes

Never be reluctant to be a leader who models the behaviors you want to see in others. Don’t worry about managing people. If they like where you are headed, they will follow. Your job is to share the vision, set the tone and move to action. This gives people a purpose and reason to follow. Be a generous, fair and supportive leader with your people, but a tough manager of problems and faulty processes. – Hayward SuggsCommonquest Consulting

3. Create A Culture Of Meritocracy

Don’t focus on managing. Focus instead on enabling team performance, first by ensuring your own performance is impeccable, and then by creating a culture of meritocracy. As respect for your and the team’s work increases, you will find people rallying around you and your fear of leading will evaporate. You will realize you’ve been leading all along without forcing yourself to lead. – Gaurav BhallaAuthor of “Awakening A Leader’s Soul: Learnings Through Immortal Poems”

4. Don’t Let Fear Stop You

If you have imagined yourself in a leadership role, don’t let fear stop you from exploring what that would look like. Leading a team involves being clear on the expectations for each role then communicating in a way that play’s to individual’s strengths and helps to cover their blind spots. If you enjoy helping people grow and accomplish team goals, this path is worth exploring. – Shawn Kent HayashiThe Professional Development Group LLC

5. Be Willing To Fail

The best leaders are made, not born. Leadership is a skill that is mastered over a lifetime. At one point, you were a beginner at every skill you ever learned. The only way to learn is to be willing to be a beginner. Assume you’ll fail, assume there will be times when you won’t look good and learn from every single mistake. It’s not how good you are at first, but how good you are at learning. – David Butlein, Ph.D.BLUECASE Strategic Partners

6. Believe In Yourself

Leadership is possible for anyone. Have confidence in your own ability and capacity. Keep a growth mindset, and focus on what is possible and not what isn’t. Show your abilities and don’t be afraid to fall down. Every capable leader has stumbled along their path and gotten back up to become a better leader. Step into your potential. – Monica ThakrarMTI

7Embrace Confidence

If you desire to pursue a leadership role, then I advise you find your confidence. Leading a team requires confidence because you will likely make mistakes. However, you have to be capable of shrugging it off and moving forward because others are depending on you and your leadership capacities. Leadership is about growth, yourself included, and lack of confidence will inhibit your abilities. – Valerie MartinelliValerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC

8. Know You Have Value AA Leader

If you’re being approached to take the reins, there’s a valid reason why. Every leader has something unique to offer! You may be an excellent mentor, coordinator or listener who (even unwittingly) sets an example for others. Don’t hold back because your leadership skills don’t look like what you’re used to seeing. Your personal approach can make more of a difference than you realize. – Laura Smith-ProulxAn Expert Resume

9. Build A Diverse Team

You don’t know what you need until you know what you have. Tell the truth about your blind spots and take the time to understand your skills. Build a team where you can be honest and create feedback loops to stay grounded. Focus on complementary skills and surround yourself with people willing to understand your vision and goals. – Meredith Moore CrosbyLeverette Weekes

10. Do It, Even If You’re Afraid

Hopefully, you are not merely thrown to the wolves. Learn to lead as you have with every other skill set. Lean on the support of your leaders, take classes and get coaching. Let the team know you are learning alongside them. Make leadership development a part of your team’s culture. Learn together, fail together, grow together. Most importantly, even if you are afraid, do it anyway! – Maurice EvansIGROWyourBiz, Inc

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Library life

Were you hoping to check in with your Facebook friends last week, or longing to upload fallen tree pictures to Instagram?

Hurricane Irma forced many of us to disconnect from our devices in the days after the storm.

But a safe haven was offered to hurricane-weary residents by the Palm Beach County Library System, which opened its doors on Sept. 14, offering power, free Wi-Fi and that all-important air conditioning.

The main library and branches (except Belle Glade, which was without power) were open for limited hours at first, but expected things to get back to normal in a short time.

See Q&A from our local Estate Planning and Personal Injury columnists

See Q&A from our local Estate Planning and Personal Injury columnists

What a great service to the community — and a great way for people to get acquainted with all that the library has to offer. And, it just so happens that September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month

Glades Road Branch

20701 95th Ave. S., Boca Raton


Get hooked: Come with some yarn and a crochet hook and join the group. All skill levels welcome. Adults. 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Less stress: Joe Hamilton of TrustBridge Health teaches five steps to leading a stress-free life. Adults. Preregister. 2 p.m. Monday.

Pizza, pages: Enjoy pizza while discussing “The Young Elites” by Marie Lu. Grade 6 and older. Preregister. 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Fly away: A ladybug release is followed by stories, games and a craft. Ages 4 to 9. Preregister. 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Hagen Ranch Road Branch

14350 Hagen Ranch Road, Delray Beach


It’s electric: For those who love to tinker, build and find out how things work, this session focuses on circuits and electricity. Build with Snap Circuits. Ages 11 to 17. Preregister. 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Book discussion: The Modern Mystery Book Club tackles “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood. Adults. 2 p.m. Sept. 28.

West Boca Branch

18685 State Road 7, Boca Raton


Don’t forget: Celebrate Elephant Appreciation Day with stories, songs and crafts. Ages 3 and older. 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Neon glow: Use special acrylic paints on canvas boards to create a vibrant work of art. Grades six to 12. Preregister. 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Bring tissues: Join in a discussion of “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. Adults. 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Paint pretty: Kids can use metallic and glitter watercolor paints to create unique artwork. Ages 8 and older. 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

West Boca Branch

18685 State Road 7, Boca Raton


Good chuckle: Dr. Shellie Fraddin presents a lecture on how the healing power of laughter leads to a happier, healthier life. Adults. Preregister. 2 p.m. Monday.

Exciting electrons: This electrifying demonstration from the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium includes many classic energy tricks. Ages 5 and older. Preregister. 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Boca Raton Public Library

400 NW Second Ave., Boca Raton


Farmyard fun: Join John Mallory’s Holy Cow, Mr.Pig and Bully the Longhorn Bull for dancing, fun and games. Free tickets available 30 minutes prior to the show. Children 8 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Meet the author: Nonfiction writer Deborah Pollack will discuss her book “Bad Scarlett.” The former television actress (known as Deborah Courtney) is also an art dealer with a gallery in Palm Beach. Adults. Preregister. 3 p.m. Sunday.

Spanish River Library

1501 NW Spanish River Blvd., Boca Raton


Story time: Children of all ages, accompanied by a parent, are invited to enjoy music, stories and finger plays. No enrollment required. 10:30 a.m. Monday.

Facebook 101: Learn how to post status updates; comment on and “like” other people’s posts; and find/make friends. Smartphones, tablets and laptops welcome. Participants must have a Facebook account. Adults. Preregister. 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Boynton Beach Library

208 S. Seacrest Blvd., Boynton Beach


Be heard: Students in grades six to 12 can learn how to make their voices count. Snacks will be served. 5:30 p.m. today.

For babies: Little ones up to 24 months of age are invited to listen to stories, rhymes and songs. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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Zen and the Art of Keeping Your Cool at the Office

If there’s one place you want to avoid feeling angry at, it’s the office. Anger can alienate your colleagues, distract you from doing good work, and ultimately lead to termination. Yet office anger is a problem many struggle with: 64% of people report having gotten angry in the workplace, and 45% report doing so regularly.

This is a problem, and clearly it’s one that many people struggle with. Wondering how you can keep your cool? Below we’ve compiled four tips to help you out.


Tip One: Deep Breaths

Sometimes, problems aren’t really as bad as they seem. In situations like these, it can help to take a few deep breaths.

In the moment, this might feel like a silly thing to do. After all, breathing won’t solve your problem. However, science has shown that deep breathing enhances the work of your parasympathetic nervous system, ultimately helping you feel calmer.

Because the real goal is to feel better, not necessarily to solve your problem.


Tip Two: Talk to Your Boss or Coworker

Of course, there are times when the problem is solvable. In these cases, it’s all about communicating your feelings in a respectful way with the people who can do something about the problem.

Don’t blame anyone. Just talk about why your feelings are hurt and look for positive, helpful solutions.

It is important to get a good read on someone before doing this. If your boss really is a raging jerk, they won’t want to hear it. But most bosses want their employees to succeed and most coworkers want to be liked, making this a potentially productive path forward.


Tip Three: Venting

Sometimes, though, you’re not even looking for a productive solution. You’re just looking for a way to vent your frustrations.

In this situation, it’s probably best to vent to a loved one or a friend — someone who’s outside the office, since office gossip can lead to trouble. At the same time, people need to vent, and sometimes office gossip is unavoidable.


Tip Four: Look at Things From a Different Perspective

There are some instances where nothing seems to work. Deep breaths feel useless, the person you have a problem with isn’t good with communication, and even venting is just a short-term solution.

In these situations, the real solution is to just accept the problem and move on. That may feel wrong if the problem is stressing you out, but the truth is, people stress other people out. In much the way that you’re getting stressed out by someone at work, you’re probably stressing someone out in some area of your life.

It’s unavoidable, and the best thing is acceptance. Chance the things you can change — see if you can’t rack your brain and determine an action you can take to prevent the problem before it starts — and accept what you can’t.


Forty hours a week is a lot of time to spend with a group of people. You’re bound to get frustrated, but at the end of the day you have to accept people for who they are. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, so long as you avoid throwing a work tantrum, you’re on the right path.


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