The United States is one of only four countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee any paid leave for new parents. Americans who work for the government or private companies with 50 or more employees are usually covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period – but when expenses are higher than ever before, families are often hard-pressed to use unpaid leave. As a result, employers in competitive niches like tech use paid parental leave as a way to woo in-demand talent, with giants like Google and Facebook often topping the list. On Tuesday, Netflix announced a paid parental leave policy that would make even the most pampered employees green with envy: unlimited time off, at full pay, after the birth or adoption of a child.
(Photo Credit: shardayyy/Flickr)
“We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances,” writes Tawni Cranz, Netflix’s Chief Talent Officer, at the company’s blog. “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 already offers workers unlimited vacation time, along with more standard perks like health and retirement plans, plus a few fun twists like letting employees bring dogs to work.
A Smart Move for Netflix
“Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field,” Cranz wrote. “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.”
Workers might also be more likely to stay at the company. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, shared her experience of being the first employee at Google to go on maternity leave. She noted that when the company upped its paid leave to 18 weeks in 2007, “the rate at which new moms left Google fell by 50 percent.”
Netflix’s stock also reached a record high yesterday, the day of the announcement, closing at $121.15 per share, a 7.6 percent increase.
Tell Us What You Think
Does your employer offer parental leave? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.