Netflix's Newest Hit: An Awesome Maternity (and Paternity!) Leave Policy

All together now...WOW!

The no-strings-attached deal is undeniably sweet. Besides the protected time off, new moms and dads can also choose to transition back to work part- or full-time during that first year—and leave again if they choose. Best part? Their salary, and their standing within the company, won't take a hit.

This revised policy is all part of a larger goal to attract and retain the best talent, company brass explain. "Netflix's continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field," Tawni Cranz, the company's chief talent officer, wrote in the post. "Experience shows people perform better at work when they're not worrying about home." (Hey, employers: Take note!)

Cranz also said the powers-that-be "want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances. ...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."

This generous deal isn't a huge leap for Netflix, which already gives staffers carte blanche when it comes to vacation time, so long as their work doesn't suffer. But still, goes beyond even what some other leading companies offer.

Google, for instance, gives employees 18 weeks of paid leave, plus up to 12 weeks of "baby bonding" time during their child's first year. Telecom giant Vodafone revised its policy to now offer new moms 16 weeks of paid leave and the ability to work 30 hours a week without taking a pay cut. And IBM, which already gives six weeks paternity leave and 14 weeks paid maternity leave, is now footing the bill for working moms to express ship their breast milk home to baby.

These policies beat the heck out of what the average new parent employee gets. The U.S. famously lags behind most other nations when it comes to paid leave. Sure, there's the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows you to take up to 12 weeks—unpaid—to be with baby after she's born. But not every worker qualifies for that protection. While we wait for our government to catch up with the rest of the developed world, it's heartening to see that employers like Netflix are taking matters into their own hands and making life for new parents just a little easier.

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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Kristy had premature twins and went back to work after her maternity leave. But when her nanny quit unexpectedly, she made a life-changing decision.

Image of baby and working mom courtesy of

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