Changes to the Landscape of Maternity & Paternity Leave
Unlimited time off on Maternity/ Paternity leave? Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong! A huge cultural shift is taking place. Leave policies are adapting to be more relaxed and less defined across the United States as notable organizations such as Netflix, Google, and Virgin Airlines begin to allow extended leave, or even unlimited leave to new parents.
A decision as bold as this is bound to stir the pot with its employees. Organizations whose leave policies are not measuring up to the standards of the 21st Century better take note or will be left in the dust.
Netflix recently announced that it would start offering unlimited leave during the first 12 months for the birth of a new child or an adoption. This news was a breath of fresh air for the Netflix employees who would begin to reap the benefits of enjoying this time with a new child. On the other hand, because the policy is only provided to employees considered “salaried streaming employees,” many of Netflix’ hourly lower paid employees will not be able to take part in the benefit. The new policy NPR estimates, “will ultimately leave out between 400 and 500 Netflix employees.” A petition has been issued by a Netflix employee who is challenging the company to extend the policy to the rest of its employees. Without extending the policy to include all employees, some will feel excluded, will come forward and voice their concerns.
Although Netflix’ new leave policy is a great incentive to check out the Careers page of their website, hold on a minute before you start submitting those applications. Virgin Airlines offers 12 months of paid leave for new moms and dads. Just remember you have to be employed with Virgin for 4 years before being privy to this delectable perk and you must be part of Virgins Management team.
Two considerations that need to be thoroughly analyzed are:
- How does a change like this affect the productivity of the business?
- Are those being excluded from the plan going to react negatively, possibly leading to discrimination lawsuits?
Analyzing your leave policies and the employees affected by the plan can set strong groundwork for reducing risk in the workplace. CHRS has a strong team of Human Resources professionals ready to make sure your company’s risk is mitigated.
The most important message to take away from the changing family leave landscape is that employers are becoming more focused on supporting their employees during these life transitions so they can come back to work with a positive, focused attitude.
Let’s see what company jumps on the unlimited leave bandwagon next!
Are you looking to update your leave policy? Custom Human Resource Solutions has written numerous leave policies and our experienced and certified Human Resources Professionals are here to help write yours. CHRS will make sure your leave policy is in compliance with local, state, and federal requirements.
Author Kelsey Geist
October 5, 2015