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By August 10, 2015September 17th, 2015Blog

Netflix made headlines last week after it announced that parents under its employ would be allowed unlimited leave the year following the birth or adoption of a new child.

They released this on their website the day of the announcement,

“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. With this in mind, today we’re introducing an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads that allows them to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.”

Here is a small sample of the headlines the announcement produced.

Unlimited leave policies are not a new thing in the U.S. – even if they are still rare. Generous parental leave policies are also not unusual in the tech sector. Here is the current parental leave leader board for that sector.

  • Facebook: 16 weeks of paid parental leave to U.S. employees
  • Google: 18 weeks to mothers and twelve to fathers.
  • Microsoft: 20 weeks of paid leave to new moms and twelve to dads

These polices, of course, are a result of the incredible competition in this country for tech workers and engineers. The benefits packages may have actually little to do with a benevolent corporate culture and everything to do with capitalism.

One thing is for sure, most parents in the U.S. will probably never see benefits like those in the tech sector unless Congress creates a national parental leave policy.Currently only twelve percent of U.S. workers have access to paid leave much less paid parental leave. FMLA only requires that mothers can come back to their jobs – if they have not been eliminated – after 12 weeks.

So for now the debate will continue over paid parental leave. Is it good for employees and bad for business? If so, how will the two sides find common ground?

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