Netflix offers employees 1-year paid parental leave

Aug 05, 2015, 3:54 PM EDT
Reed Hastings, CEO and founder of Netflix, talks for the international press during the launch of Netflix in Colombia on September 9, 2011 in Bogota,Colombia.
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Netflix raised the bar for corporate benefits by offering employees 1-year paid parental leave. In a blog post, the video streaming company said parents could take off as much time as they wanted during the first year after a child's birth or adoption, reports Reuters. Parents can return to work part-time, full-time or return and then go back of work as needed, the company said. The change, which the company called an "unlimited" leave, will eliminate the need for employees to request state or disability pay because they will continue to be paid their regular salary.

“Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field,” Tawni Cranz, Netflix’s Chief Talent Officer, said in the post. “Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home.” The Netflix policy far exceeds typical such leave at large U.S. corporations. Compared to other developed countries, the United States lags behind in benefits it offers expecting parents. The U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act entitles employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off a year in the event of a birth, adoption or the arrival of a foster child.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced that it, too, will expand parental benefits, writes the Wall Street Journal. Starting in November, new mothers will be able to take up to 20 weeks of paid leave, with additional time off in the two weeks before their due date, wrote Kathleen Hogan, the company’s human resources head, on a company blog. That time off includes 12 weeks of paid parental leave for new mothers or fathers as well as disability leave for birth mothers. Currently, mothers get eight weeks of paid disability leave and new mothers and fathers get 12 weeks of parental leave, of which four weeks are paid. 

Netflix may expect some logistical challenges ahead. Managers might not know how many employees they will have on hand during busy spells, said Bruce Elliott, SHRM’s manager of compensation and benefits, and might need to draw on resources from across the organization or cross-train employees on performing additional tasks to make it work.