Finding the balance between active parenting and all other life demands is one of the most important decisions parents need to make. One company has decided to help. Netflix announced this week that they will be offering unlimited maternity and paternity leave to their employees much as they already offer unlimited vacation and sick leave. Other tech companies have also found similar policies to pay them back with loyal employees who stay. In fact, after Google expanded its maternity leave from 12 weeks to 18 weeks, new mothers left the company at half the rate they did previously.
The Netflix policy applies to the first year after a child is born or adopted. Both parents can take as much time off as they need and can choose to work part time or to come back full time for a few months and then leave again. All the while, they will continue to receive their full salaries and benefits. This revolutionary idea in the U.S. is actually standard practice in much of the rest of the world. Companies are finding that employees who are not worried about what is happening at home, are more productive and happier.
I remember at four weeks post-partum many decades ago being called into a board meeting for a part-time job I held. I thought it was the most unreasonable request ever made. I felt like they should have been able to function without me and that leaving my baby for even a couple of hours was a tremendous sacrifice. Later, that same job and my female supervisor allowed me to bring that baby to board meetings. I was lucky that she never cried or needed to be changed during any of those meetings and I felt valued and understood. By the time my second child was born, I was ready to stay home full time but I was so grateful that it was a choice and that even then the work place was beginning to acknowledge the needs of parents.
Children take time. The EV program offers even the busiest parents structure to ensure that they spend quality time with their children every day. it offers parents who do stay home the same consistency. Finding the balance between active parenting and all other life demands is your decision to make not once but every day. Being present and available feels like love to a child. Kudos to Netflix for their stand to make this a bit easier for some parents.