Netflix Announces 'Unlimited' Parental Leave for Employees | Sojourners

Netflix Announces 'Unlimited' Parental Leave for Employees

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Parents everywhere rejoice: Netflix yesterday announced a new "unlimited" paternity and maternity leave program for its employees, TechCrunch reports.

"Unlimited" doesn't literally mean unlimited, of course — parental leave from Netflix ends after one year. But the flexibility given to new parents is still impressive: parents can return full-time or part-time, and come back or go back on leave as needed, with no change to their salary.

Netflix's Chief Talent Officer laid out the terms in a company blog post,

"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. 

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."

This is a major policy for a leading company, given that our country remains one of three countries in the world with no guaranteed paid parental leave. In fact, only 12 percent of Americans — those at Sojourners included — have access to paid parental leave (this drops to 5 percent for low-wage workers), and only four states — California, Massachusettes, New Jersey, and Rhode Island — currently have publicly funded parental leave. 

With its announcement, Netflix joins other tech companies, including YouTube, Yahoo, Reddit, and Twitter, as one of the most generous workplaces for parental leave. As TechCrunch notes, this responsive shift in part reflects changing priorities of Silicon Valley's talent, as the workforce shifts from wanting perks that "make work fun" (unlimited soft drinks, ping-pong tables, bean bag chairs) to wanting real work-life balance.

"The talent is growing up," says TechCrunch. Netflix is listening ... it remains to be seen whether national policymakers will.

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