Just announced: Microsoft Follows Netflix Maternity (And Paternity) Leave Upgrades

We live in a time where maternity leave is often over looked in America.  Most of us are only allowed 6 or 8 weeks to care for our new babies, and often times it’s unpaid, or only partially paid leave.  Paternity leave, on the other hand, is not a widely accepted occurrence.  New fathers usually don’t see any benefits from their employers.  In both of these cases, Netflix raises the bar.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones.  I was allotted 6 weeks of maternity leave, fully paid.  I opted to take the additional 2 weeks (for a total of 8) that my employer allowed, unpaid.  My fiancé’ was not as lucky.  He was allowed to take up to 30 days of paternity leave, but there was a catch.  If he had vacation time, he was required to use it.  Once it was gone, the leave was completely unpaid.

Somehow we managed.  We managed to financially cover almost 4 full weeks of no income between the two of us.  It wasn’t easy, and I feel sometimes as though we are still catching up.  And Netflix has me wishing I worked for them. (Hey, Netflix, I feel as though you’re in need of some digital content skills that I just so happen to have.)

According to their blog article posted August 4, 2015, titled “Starting Now at Netflix: Unlimited Maternity and Paternity Leave

Sign me up!

It goes on to explain that they are trying to foster a “freedom and responsibility” culture.  They want to give their employee’s the freedom to manage their work-life balance, especially with a new child (or adopted child).

They are offering employee’s the ability to take up to a year off for maternity and paternity leave with full pay.

Let me repeat that.

With FULL PAY.

The employee can come back to work at any time.  They can come back part-time or full-time and can even go back on leave after they’ve returned to work in that first year.

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 U.S. & Canada Blog

It’s an amazing leap forward for the company and for the nation.  We are left behind for maternity (and paternity) benefits compared to other countries.

Examples:

  • The United Kingdom offers 52 weeks of maternity leave (90% pay for 38 weeks, the remainder unpaid)
  • Vietnam offers 4-6 MONTHS (fully paid)
  • Italy offers 22 weeks (80% pay)
  • Estonia a whopping 62 weeks (fully paid)

(Source: Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave)

There have been some negative reactions to this, but I can’t see any.  If it is the company choosing to make this a benefit to it’s employees without penalty to other employee’s, what’s the harm?

I hope that Netflix is on to something that will make other employers take notice.  Everyone wants to care for their new children and to maintain a good work-life balance.  Most of us don’t have the luxury of staying home and it’s nice to see Netflix taking its employees needs into consideration.

What do you think?  Do you love the new policy from Netflix?  Or do you hate it?  Tell us in the comments!