Netflix has introduced fully-paid parental leave as its latest unlimited employee benefit.
The media streaming giant has introduced the policy as a means of attracting and retaining the best talent. It covers the first year following a child’s birth or adoption.
Parents will have the flexibility to stay at home, drop in when they can or return to work on a part-time basis without having to worry about the financial ramifications.
In a statement Tawni Cranz, Netflix’s Chief Talent Officer, said: “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. 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.”
Last year Netflix introduced unlimited holidays, where employees are encouraged to take as much time off as they require. Unlimited parental leave works in the same way, with employees left to monitor their own time off.
HR will need to approve the holiday if it is for a period of longer than 30 days.
Compared to statutory benefits the Netflix offer is extremely generous. In the UK parents can share 12 months of leave between them; otherwise the mother can take 12 months and the father just two weeks.
The statutory pay rate for women on maternity leave is 90% of their normal pay for six weeks and then payments at the statutory rate of £139.58 for a further 33 weeks. Fathers receive the statutory rate for two weeks of leave, whilst parents that opt for shared leave get 39 weeks between them, also paid at the statutory rate. Women taking the full year of maternity leave can only take the time as a single block, rather than being able to dip in or out of employment as required.
It would be easy to discount this latest benefit as a stunt, but Netflix may well just be ahead of the curve. With the rise of flexible working and IKEA leading the way in paying the living wage, the conventions of the employer/employee relationship are certainly evolving.