Netflix just stepped up its leave policy -- again

Reed hastings netflixKen Ishii/GettyNetflix CEO Reed Hastings, a dad.

Netflix is cornering the paid parental leave market.

In an historic move in August, Netflix offered unlimited parental leave for up to a year following a child’s birth or adoption to its salaried streaming employees. The new policy, however, excluded employees in the company’s DVD distribution centres, many of whom are hourly workers.

But in an interview with Talent Management last week, Tawni Cranz, Netflix’s chief talent officer, announced that Netflix would yet again change its parental leave policy, this time to allow four months of parental leave for its hourly workers, who will receive all of their pay during their time away from work.

DVD workers previously received a minimum of 12 paid weeks of maternity leave, a Netflix spokeswoman told The Huffington Post earlier this year.

The Huffington Post also reports workers in customer service will receive 14 weeks of fully-paid parental leave at full pay.

“The way that we think about leave benefits and offerings is in line with how we think about comp,” Cranz told Talent Management. “So when we think about compensation, we think about what is the market pay, what is going to be market competitive, and then also what is caring and compassionate for our employees, and what will they value?”

The change marks a substantial shift in policy for a major corporation, as benefits rarely extend beyond salaried employees.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, qualifying American parents are guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid family leave to care for a new child — but the policy is restricted to full-time employees who have been with the company for more than a year.
Indeed, the US is the only developed nation in the world that doesn’t ensure any paid time off for new mums, according to a report from the International Labour Organisation.

And while the US Bureau of Labour statistics estimates that only 11% of all workers received paid family leave in 2012, that number drops to 4% for part-time workers.

Netflix’s recent announcement has been met with mixed reviews so far from women’s and worker rights groups that petitioned Netflix to include all of their employees in their new family leave program.

“While the new policy lags behind what employees petitioned for on — which was to provide hourly employees with the same paid parental leave benefits as salaried workers — it’s an important change that will impact many families,” says Tim Newman, campaigns director for, in a press release.

“We applaud Netflix’s step in the right direction on parental leave, which occurred after months of pressure from nearly 50,000 UltraViolet members,” says Nita Chaudhary, cofounder of UltraViolet, a national women’s advocacy organisation, in a press release.

“All mums and dads of all incomes deserve time to care for their new children. However, it is disappointing that Netflix is continuing their two-tiered system that says some parents deserve more time to bond with their children than others. We urge Netflix to put all parents on the same playing field, regardless of income, and expand their unlimited parental leave policy to all workers,” she says.

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