By Kylie Gumpert
(Reuters) - Netflix Inc is offering up to a year of paid maternity and paternity leave for employees to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, significantly raising the bar for parental benefits in corporate America.
In a blog post, the video streaming company said parents could take off as much time as they wanted during the first year after a child's birth or adoption.
Parents can return to work part-time, full-time or return and then go back of work as needed, the company said.
The change, which the company called an "unlimited" leave, will eliminate the need for employees to request state or disability pay because they will continue to be paid their regular salary.
“Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field,” Tawni Cranz, Netflix’s Chief Talent Officer, said in the post. “Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home.”
The Netflix policy far exceeds typical such leave at large U.S. corporations. Compared to other developed countries, the United States lags behind in benefits it offers expecting parents.
The U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act entitles employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off a year in the event of a birth, adoption or the arrival of a foster child.
Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday in a blog post it would increase its paid parental leave to 12 weeks for all its employees who become parents of new children.
Microsoft currently, in addition to eight weeks of fully paid maternity disability leave, gives an additional 12 weeks of parental leave, of which eight weeks are unpaid.
Last month the U.S. Navy tripled the paid time off offered to new mothers in the Navy or Marine Corps, from six weeks to 18 weeks.
(Reporting by Kylie Gumpert, additional reporting by Kshitiz Goliya; Editing by Andrew Hay)