Plan to put your new baby on your health insurance. Ask your employer if other benefits are available, such as a dependent care account. Create a will and get life insurance. Find out your employer’s parental leave policy.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take job-protected leaves for the birth of a child or to care for a child. The act provides for unpaid leave without repercussions for up to twelve workweeks in a twelve-month period. However, some companies go above and beyond what is legally required of them.
On August 4th, Tawni Cranz, Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, announced on the company blog that the organization will now be offering unlimited, fully-paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers for the first year after the birth or adoption of a child.
The unlimited maternity and paternity leave is meant to help encourage the culture of “freedom and responsibility” at Netflix. “We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances,” states Cranz, adding that by continuing to pay employees during this transitional phase of their lives, the company is “eliminating the headache” of switching to state or disability pay.
Managers are expected to work with individual employees to help cover absences so that production does not falter.
The move seems to be related to the tight market for skilled talent, as Cranz states, “Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field.” By taking away added stress of work and finances, top performers can focus on their families and return when they are ready to devote their attention to their work functions.
Interestingly, the very next day, on August 5th, Microsoft made a change in the family leave policy for its American employees, although a spokesman for Microsoft states the timing was purely coincidental. In a blog post on the company website, Kathleen Hogan, Executive Vice President for Microsoft’s HR department, states that new mothers and fathers will have twelve weeks of family leave available to them at 100 percent pay. Additionally, mothers can take eight weeks of paid maternity disability leave.
“For these parents to bring their best every day, they need time to take care of themselves and their family.” Hogan states. “In recognition of this, we are making some significant enhancements to our Parental Leave practices.”
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