Netflix’s Groundbreaking Leave Policy Leads To Massive Stream Into Unchartered Territory

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11/23/2017

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Netflix’s Groundbreaking Leave Policy Leads To Massive Stream Into Unchartered Territory

By Greg Blueford

In the second half of 2015, Netflix announced it would begin offering employees who become new parents unlimited paid maternity/paternity leave for one year. Employees will be allowed to take off as much time as they want during the first twelve months after a child’s birth or adoption.

Under its new policy, Netflix allows employees on parental leave the luxury to continue part-time or full-time employment and to take leave as needed during the first year after their child’s birth or adoption, all of which is paid at their current salary on the company’s dime.  Netflix, wanting to attract and retain the most “talented” employees, believes this policy allows employees to feel supported by the company during an important change in their lives and help them return to work more focused and dedicated.

However, Netflix caught a lot of flak for its original policy as it only applied to “salaried streaming employees” and did not apply to workers in the distribution centers or customer service department, where the work is usually lower-paid. Netflix, facing tons of opposition, updated its policy to include its hourly workers. Still, their leave is less than that of salaried employees, ranging from 12-16 weeks of leave that is fully paid at their current salary.

While only about 12% of private-sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employer, many high-profile companies in 2015 re-booted their employer-paid family leave policies, including Microsoft, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, Amazon and Hilton Worldwide. While the policies vary in length and amount of benefit, most of the policies are geared only towards salaried employees. Of these famous companies, Hilton is the most unique as their policy covers hourly employees including housekeeping and concierge positions. This disparity had led to a push for reform to Federal law that would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program. However, that measure has been repeatedly shot down.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

While this policy may be feasible in the tech world, a similar policy may not work in all types of industries. However, if your company wants to implement a similar policy concerning parental leave, the policy should be applied in a consistent manner to avoid discrimination claims. Further, the procedures of the Family and Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act should still be followed when applicable. Please contact The Saqui Law Group if you have questions regarding parental leave policies and/or procedures.

 


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