Music streaming giant Spotify has just announced a new global parental leave policy that is reasonable, necessary, and makes Amazon’s recent foray into more family-friendly leave policies look like the half-baked publicity fart it almost definitely was.
According to the company’s press release:
- All full-time Spotify employees will be offered up to six months’ parental leave with 100% pay.
- Parents will be able to take their leave up to the child’s third birthday, with all Spotify employees who had children from the beginning of 2013 also eligible for the benefit.
- Mothers and fathers are encouraged to take the full time off, with the added flexibility of splitting their leave into separate periods.
- We also know that following a period of parental leave, the transition back to work can be tricky. So we’re including a one month ‘Welcome Back!’ programme, allowing returning team members to ease back into their job with the ability to work from home, on a part time schedule and with flexible hours.
The announcement linked to a slightly more in-depth PDF on the company’s updated policy, in which chief human resources officer Katarina Berg is quoted as saying:
“Our Swedish inspired culture proves that we do have an environment where a rich time off policy can be successful. This is what differentiates Spotify from other companies, and why we believe employees all around the world will be comfortable (and expected) to take their full parental leave time with the support of their peers, managers and leaders.”
The company made the announcement Thursday in its New York offices with White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, underlining the Obama administration’s push for states to support updated paid leave policies. “We really want to have a culture in our country were you can be a working parent and be productive at work,” Jarrett said.
Only 21% of employers offered some kind of paid maternity leave in 2015, with just 17% offering paternity and/or adoption leave; a recent In These Times investigation found that nearly 1 in 4 employed American mothers return to work within two weeks of giving birth.
Other companies, like aforementioned soul-guzzler Amazon—which recently added paternity leave for the first time, and now offers 20 weeks maternity leave—have ramped up their paid leave policies this year, including the Gates Foundation, which went so far as to offer a full year off to both parents.
Although certain real life Bond villains are fond of the idea that this sort of thing is bad for the economy, it’s really something of the opposite—and the fact is, most countries offer quite a bit more than the U.S. (currently nailing it at 0 weeks guaranteed leave) and are doing just fine.
So while Spotify is not actually quite up there with Sweden, which guarantees 480 days off per child for both parents, this highly visible and influential young company is setting a new, immensely humane standard—and making working parents virtually everywhere else in this country extremely jealous.
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