Disruptive thinking in the workplace: Netflix offers “unlimited” parental leave
James R | On 05, Aug 2015
Netflix has built its business on being a disruptor: a groundbreaking distributor, releasing titles around the world simultanouesly, and a technological revolutionary, offering media on the kind of subscription model that has become standard for many new businesses. But Netflix is equally forward-thinking in another crucial area: its employees.
Today, Netflix announced that it will offer “unlimited” maternity and paternity leave to its workers.
New mums and dads can now take off as much time as they want during the first year after their child’s birth or adoption. The announcement places the VOD giant on even – if not superior – footing with several Silicon Valley companies, from Facebook (four months for each new parent) to Google (18 weeks). They are all, though, ahead of the curve for America, where the minimum entitled parental leave is lower than other countries.
“At Netflix, we work hard to foster a “freedom and responsibility” culture that gives our employees context about our business and the freedom to make their own decisions along with the accompanying responsibility,” said Tawni Cranz, Netflix’s Chief Talent Officer, on the company’s blog.
“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.”
The move follows an already generous vacation policy, which allows salaried employees to take off as much time as they like.
“We should focus on what people get done, not how many hours or days worked. Just as we don’t have a nine to five day policy, we don’t need a vacation policy,” said the company in a document that went viral in 2010.
For Netflix, its atypical employment rules are far from disruptive: by helping to retain talent, they enable it to disrupt other areas of business.
Indeed, since 2010, the company’s membership around the world has rocketed, while its share price has ballooned from 17.93 to 121.15.
“Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field,” added Cranz. “Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home.”
Photo: Paul Sakuma Photography