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Photo Credit: BrandsGym, via Creative Commons

Photo Credit: BrandsGym, via Flickr Creative Commons

In a blog post on Tuesday, Netflix announced that it will extend its maternity and paternity leave for employees. The new policy stipulates that, within the first year of a baby being born or adopted, new moms and dads will receive both their normal salary, and the option of returning to work on a part or full time basis.

According to its website, Netflix chief talent officer Tawni Cranz said:

“We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances”

“Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field. Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home. 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.”

The significance of this step on the part of the video-streaming company can be seen from the fact that, as it currently stands, the Family and Medical Act of 1993 requires employers give parents 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Moreover, this law only applies to companies with 50 or more employees.

Netflix’s move, the most generous within an extremely competitive tech industry, is consistent with the overall progressive direction embraced by employers throughout Silicon Valley and San Francisco, according to The New York Times.

Companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and biogenetic innovator Genetech offer their employees anywhere between four months to 20 weeks. Back in 2007, Google added six weeks to its initial 12 week mark allotted for  “paid baby bonding time.”

Without a doubt, this policy puts Netflix on the right side of history, regarding working families and parenthood in the U.S. America remains the only “developed” country without a federally mandated paid paternity leave.

Our hope is that what’s happening in the workplace of one media streaming company will provoke a broader conversation about actualizing the right of every parent in America to paid paternity leave.


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Antwan is an educator, cultural critic, actor, and writer for Wear Your Voice Mag (WYV), where he focuses on the dynamics of class, race, gender, politics, and pop culture. Prior to joining the team at WYV, he was an adjunct professor in the African American Studies Department at Valdosta State University in southern Georgia, where he taught African American Literature. He has traveled the U.S. and U.K. showcasing a fifty-five minute, one-person play titled Whitewash, which focuses on the state of black men in the post-civil rights era. Antwan received his B.A. in English and Literature from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and M.A. in African American Studies from University of California, Los Angeles. He is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and NAACP theater nominee.

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