Netflix is offering its employees unlimited paid time off in the first year of the birth or adoption of a child.
Federal law requires many companies in the U.S. to offer at least 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, and 21 percent of U.S. organizations offer paid maternity leave, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. But only 2 percent of U.S. organizations offer unlimited paid leave, SHRM says.
Netflix has taken that to a new level with up to one year off paid, with benefits, for both mothers and fathers.
“The policy itself is very encouraging for employees,” says Peter Cappelli, professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania. “The question is, ‘What else are they going to do?’ As soon as you see one of the top executives of the company using the policy, then it’s for real,” because it changes workplace culture.
But unlimited leave by itself won’t accomplish that, says Karen Cates, who teaches about executive leadership at Northwestern University.
“In practice, what’s going to happen is that folks who decide to take longer [time off] are probably going to wind up working from home,” she says.