It has been a game-changing year for parental leave policies. Major companies are finally catching on that working parents deserve some serious benefits. As the stats stand today, 51 percent of new working moms don't get any paid maternity leave, and The Family and Medical Leave Act offers 12 weeks unpaid leave after having a child, but only if you've been at a company for a year and it has at least 50 full-time employees. And it isn't great for dads either. Most U.S. companies don’t give working fathers any type of paid leave.
So, what companies are making parental leave strides this year?
Netflix made a huge move when it comes to employee benefits, and it’s put other media conglomerates to shame. The online movie giant announced that it will be giving moms and dads unlimited maternity and paternity leave to take care of their children until they’re one year old.
The online retail giant announced a new family leave policy just this fall that grants new fathers paid time off for the first time ever. Under this policy, new birth parents or adoptive parents who have worked for the company for at least one year will receive six weeks of paid leave, regardless of gender. New mothers will also benefit, too. They can now take off up to 20 weeks, including the month preceding the birth of a child.
The tech company announced plans to help their traveling moms ship expressed breast milk home this summer. Under IBM’s program, working moms can use a smartphone app to order temperature-controlled packages to their hotels. IBM pays for the packaging and shipping expenses. “The concerns about cost are [nothing] compared to our drive to help our working moms,” company spokesperson Carrie Alterieri told CNNMoney. The program will start by servicing only domestic travelers, but will eventually go global, she added.
4. The Navy
OK, so it is not really a company but it still has a lot of people working for it, including many women. In July the Navy has increased its maternity leave to 18 weeks instead of six. As a result about 5,000 female sailors and marines, 500 of them officers, now get to spend more time with their babies without suffering financially. The new ruling went into effect over the summer and also extends retroactively to women who had maternity leave approved after January 1, 2015.
This week, Spotify became the latest company to join the ranks with its new policy, which offers six months of parental leave with full pay. The streaming service will backdate the policy so that any of its 1,600 worldwide employees with a child born after January 1, 2013 will be eligible. And when new parents do come to work they will be able to ease into it with an official "Welcome Back!" program that offers a flexible schedule and part-time work.
Photo Credit: Andrew Burton / Getty Images