Netflix offers one-year paid maternity and paternity leave

Photo by Jin Lee/Bloomberg

Netflix announced Tuesday that it will be offering unlimited maternity and paternity leave for one year following a child's birth or adoption.

In a blog post on their website, Netflix stated that the policy was intended to allow new moms and dads to easily balance the needs of growing families without worrying about their job or incomes. The policy will allow parents to work part-time, full-time, or come in and out of work as needed, while still receiving full pay.

With the policy, Netflix joins a host of other tech companies offering substantial paternal leave packages. Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Apple, Reddit and Twitter all offer at least 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, in addition to substantial time off to fathers.

However, tech companies are the exception in America, which is the only developed country in the world that does not have guaranteed paid paternity leave. A study of OECD countries found that on average, mothers in those countries receive 17 weeks of paid maternity leave around childbirth.

The country's lack of guaranteed paid paternity leave has attracted criticism in recent years. Opponents have pointed out that the policy negatively affects women, contributing to the gender pay gap, and women dropping out of the workforce.

More recent studies have also found that paid paternity may actually be good for business. A study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that 91% of businesses said paternity leave had either a positive effect on profitability or no effect at all. Another study in 2014 conducted by McKinsey & Co. further found that companies with balanced leadership roles between men and women were more likely to have financial returns above the industry median.

The idea that paid paternity leave may be a sound business decision is reflected in Netflix's blog post, which focuses less on altruism, and more on benefits for the company. "Netflix's continue success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field," the post reads. "This new policy … allows employees to be supported during the changes in their lives and return to work more focused and dedicated."

Watch tonight's PBS NewsHour to learn more.

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