Netflix has become one of the latest US companies to begin catching up with Australia in terms of parental leave offerings.
The company announced an expansion of its parental leave policy, granting hourly workers with full pay for maternity leave, paternity leave and adoption leave.
The hourly workers in Netflix’s California-based streaming operation will now receive as many as 16 weeks off at full pay – customer service workers will receive 14 weeks and DVD-by-mail employees will receive 12 weeks.
While the benefit is still considerably less than that received by salaries workers - they are entitled to up to one year off and have access to unlimited vacation time – it does go some way in narrowing the gap between the two.
Advocacy groups had previously criticised Netflix for discriminating against hourly workers when it comes to benefits and several organisations campaigned for change.
“By joining together in advocating for change, Netflix employees and customers were able to persuade a major company to improve its paid parental leave benefits for hourly workers,” Tim Newman, campaigns director of one of the groups, Coworker.org, said in a statement.
“While the new policy lags behind what employees petitioned for on Coworker.org - which was to provide hourly employees with the same paid parental leave benefits as salaried workers - it’s an important change that will impact many families,” he added.
Netflix say the expansion is a result of the company’s desire to constantly improve itself.
“We always look for ways to improve as a company and that means regularly reviewing policies and benefits to ensure we are competitive and can attract and keep the best employees,” the company said in the statement.
“This provides them both flexibility and stability at this exciting, yet challenging, time of their lives.”
In Australia, eligible employees who are the primary carer of a newborn or adopted child get up to 18 weeks' leave paid at the national minimum wage.
Workers are also entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave.