Netflix Is Offering A Full Year Of Paid Parental Leave And It’s Their Best Idea Since The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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netflixNetflix makes the newborn phase easier for a lot of us. I know I spent my first few sleep-deprived months just chain-watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and very old movies like Troop Beverly Hills while the baby slept on my lap, because she wouldn’t slepe anywhere else. But while Netflix might be a big help to new parents everywhere, it is a really big help to the new parents who work for Netflix, because the company just announced that it would be offering a solid year of paid maternity or paternity leave after the birth or adoption of an infant.

“We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances. Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We’ll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay,” said Tawni Cranz, chief talent officer. “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.”

That is unbelievable. I live in Germany, land of totally sweet parental leave policies, and my jaw dropped at Netflix’s news. I am certainly not the only person browsing “Jobs at Netflix” today, and that’s certainly a big part of the point of this announcement. Big companies, particularly tech companies, are desperate to get the best employees and keep them from being stolen away by other big tech companies. Good parental policies are one major way of attracting and keeping talent. If you work for a company like Netflix and a company like Google comes knocking, but you know you’re thinking of having a baby in a year and Netflix gives a year of paid leave and Google only gives 20 weeks, you might decide to stay put. ($20 says Google ups their parental leave policy soon, too.)

“Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field,” Cranz said. “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 great and I love that parental leave policies are becoming a key way for major employers to attract an retain top talent. If you are a person in the U.S. who has Google, Facebook, Virgin, and Netflix fighting over her, you are probably in a pretty sweet position. But while it is great that these companies are voluntarily establishing their own generous parental leave policies, we really need a national policy that applies to everyone, including minimum-wage employees.