Microsoft offers more parental leave, but not as much as Netflix

Microsoft

Microsoft is following Netflix’s lead with an updated maternity and paternity leave policy for employees. But Microsoft’s plan isn’t as generous as the video streaming company’s new unlimited offer.

Tech giant Microsoft announced Wednesday in a blog post that it will give extra weeks of paid leave to both mothers and fathers starting Nov. 1.

Under the new policy, paid parental leave will be extended to 12 weeks for new mothers and fathers, while mothers will receive an additional eight weeks off, also paid in full. This means new mothers will be entitled to 20 weeks of paid leave.

Mothers at Microsoft currently get 12 weeks of paid leave and eight weeks of unpaid leave while fathers get four weeks of paid time off and eight weeks of unpaid leave. Essentially, the policy update replaces the unpaid leave.

On top of this, Microsoft will allow birth mothers to use Short-Term Disability Leave two weeks prior to their scheduled due date “to manage the physical impact that often comes with late pregnancy and to prepare for the upcoming birth.”

Although Microsoft’s new policy doesn’t match Netflix’s scheme, announced Tuesday, in which a mom and dad will be entitled to unlimited leave for up to a year after the birth or adoption of a baby, it is a step in the same direction.

Kathleen Hogan, executive vice President of human resources at Microsoft, wrote in the statement that the company has a high standard for its employees, so it should provide in return.

“As we ask our employees to bring their ‘A’ game to work every day to achieve our mission, we believe it’s our responsibility to create an environment where people can do their best work,” Hogan wrote. 

“These changes are in direct support of the culture we aspire to have — one that allows people to build meaningful careers.”

“These changes are in direct support of the culture we aspire to have — one that allows people to build meaningful careers.”

Extended maternity leave is common in large Silicon Valley companies. Facebook, Google, Apple and YouTube all have extended maternity leave policies ranging from 14 weeks of leave up to 18 weeks. The dads are not left behind at these companies either. Paternity leave varies at each company while Facebook tops the charts with its 17-week policy.

There is no requirement under U.S. law for companies to pay parental leave to new parents. A standard benchmark for companies with more than 50 employees, set by the Family and Medical Leave Act, is 12 weeks unpaid leave for new mothers who have been employed for more than a year.

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