Major companies pursue new parental leave policies

Some significant companies are changing their policies for new parents.

Some significant companies are changing their policies for new parents.

Some major companies have earned media attention for their ambitious approach to time off for new parents. In the past, this blog has touched upon the notion of "unlimited leave" for employees, noting that it may be a better fit for some companies than others. A similar sort of philosophy may be applied to extended maternal and paternal relief policies, especially with highly visible brands leading the way.

Netflix is one of the new standard-bearers for the approach to longer parental leave, and has announced that it will pay workers at their regular rate for twelve months as part of its benefits package. Though this is not uncommon for some tech-based companies, it's still not the norm for the majority of businesses, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

New parents working for Netflix or Microsoft will have new extended leave options after the birth.New parents working for Netflix or Microsoft will have new extended leave options after the birth.

The company announced this new policy in a post on the official Netflix blog on August 4. Not long after, Microsoft announced a similar plan on its own blog, under which mothers and fathers will have 100 percent paid leave for 12 weeks, with 20 weeks available to mothers, along with a short-term disability option. These changes will take place beginning this November, just a few months before the same company updates its 401(k) plan match and adds new paid holidays to its schedule.

In a TechCrunch article commenting specifically on Microsoft's changes, Alex Wilhelm mentions the wider positive impacts that could arise from this friendlier approach to leave.

The differences between these two plans alone show how different options are open to companies.

"The improvements to parental leave are to be applauded," Wilhelm writes. "Certainly, Microsoft can afford the changes, but the non-monetary impact is what matters — the software company is helping families manage a key part in their child-bearing cycle, and is helping women who might have felt pressured into leaving their careers over their new kid to stay in the workforce."

HR process reengineering may help businesses readjust the structure they currently use to handle benefits-related issues at their workplace. The differences between these two plans alone show how different options are open to companies.