Netflix is now offering its employees what seems to be the most generous maternity/paternity leave policy from a large American company: A year of leave with full-time pay for new, including adoptive, parents.
The news was posted on the streaming content provider's website by Tawni Cranz, Netflix's Chief Talent Officer:
At Netflix, we work hard to foster a “freedom and responsibility” culture that gives our employees context about our business and the freedom to make their own decisions along with the accompanying responsibility. With this in mind, today we’re introducing an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads that allows them to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.Netflix has over 2,000 employees.
We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances. Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We’ll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay. Each employee gets to figure out what’s best for them and their family, and then works with their managers for coverage during their absences.
Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field. Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home. This new policy, combined with our unlimited time off, allows employees to be supported during the changes in their lives and return to work more focused and dedicated.
The NY Times reports, "Tech companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco have often been among the most progressive when it comes to family leave."
At the high end is Twitter, which offers up to 20 weeks of paid maternity leave and 10 weeks of paid paternity leave. Facebook offers four months of paid leave for both new mothers and fathers, as well as $4,000 for each new child born or adopted. It also subsidizes day care and programs for adoption, egg freezing or surrogate parenting and sperm donation programs.Earlier this year, during this State of the Union, President Obama vowed to expand family leave, but the New Yorker's Margaret Talbot wrote, "He has work to do. In the United States, where all sorts of powers are commonly attributed to the private sector, many people might imagine that employers take up the slack. But the majority of U.S. employers do not offer paid family leave, for the simple reason that they don’t have to."
Google extended its paid maternity leave to 18 weeks from 12 weeks in 2007. After the extension, the company found that returning mothers left Google at half the rate they were previously, said Roya Soleimani, a company spokeswoman. New parents, regardless of gender, “who plan to take an equal or primary role in their child’s care during the first year can receive up to 12 weeks of paid baby bonding time (this includes adoptive/surrogate caregivers),” she said.
Currently, the Family and Medical Leave Act only requires companies (with 50 or more employees) to give employees twelve weeks of unpaid but job-protected leave. According to the AP, "The U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only countries among 185 nations and territories that hadn't imposed government-mandated laws requiring employers to pay mothers while on leave with their babies, according to a study released last year by the United Nations' International Labor Organization."
While passing family leave legislation faces challenges in Congress, the President did sign a memorandum offering six weeks of paid family leave to federal employees.