Microsoft follows Netflix's lead and extends its parental leave

Just a day after Netflix was widely applauded for adopting a new policy that gives new parents “unlimited” paid leave, Microsoft is expanding its own parental leave policies to give mothers and fathers a little extra time off.

“These changes are in direct support of the culture we aspire to have — one that allows people to build meaningful careers,” writes Microsoft Executive VP Kathleen Hogan in a blog post announcing the changes.

Previously, Microsoft offered eight weeks of fully-paid maternity leave for new mothers, along with a 12 week paternity leave program (four paid, eight unpaid) for both mums and dads. 

But come November 1st, when this new Microsoft policy goes into effect, that will get expanded to 12 weeks of fully-paid leave, on top of that eight weeks for mums, meaning that a birth mother gets 20 weeks of fully-paid maternity leave.

Plus, if the birth mother chooses, they have the option of going on short-term disability for the two weeks before their due date. And as an added bonus, Microsoft employees will be able to take that 12-week parental leave either all at once or in spurts. New parents can also “phase back into work on a half-time basis,” Hogan writes.

Finally, Microsoft is also announcing that come 2016, employees will also get Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents Day as paid holidays for the first time ever. And Microsoft is also expanding its 401(k) plan coverage to match contributions up to $US9,000. 

Judging from Twitter, Microsoft employees are pretty happy with the changes:

 It’s not quite the unlimited plan that Netflix is offering to new parents, but it very much speaks to the growing sentiment amongst the tech sector that the quality of their employees’ lives are an important factor for success in business.


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