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Netflix's New Parental Leave Plan Almost Makes Us Forgive/Forget Their Adam Sandler Nonsense

By Kristy Puchko | Industry | August 5, 2015 |

By Kristy Puchko | Industry | August 5, 2015 |

Netflix has become a confusing cultural icon. It’s streaming model has changed the way we watch movies, and made binge-watching a nationwide pastime. They’ve given us groundbreaking shows like Orange Is the New Black and Sense8. On the other hand, their model has become bloated with who cares offerings, and they plan to unleash a slate of Adam Sandler movies on us, the first of which they’ve already grimly defended against racism allegations.

But the company’s latest announcement has us all:

Netflix has created “an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads that allows them to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.”

That’s right. In America, where we talk a good game about the importance of involved parenting then regularly penalize parents for wanting to be involved in their child’s earliest days, Netflix has thrown down the gauntlet.

For a reminder on the shit state of maternity leave in the U.S., here’s that Last Week Tonight bit from Mother’s Day:

And paternity leave? That’s a phrase many employers can’t comprehend even with context clues. And we as a culture have done little better. Remember when Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy came under fire for having the nerve to take three days paternity leave?


Well, Netflix is setting a new standard, declaring:

“We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances. Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We’ll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay. Each employee gets to figure out what’s best for them and their family, and then works with their managers for coverage during their absences.”


This policy is already being dubbed a game changer. Here’s hoping Netflix, the little engine that has shaken up the world of entertainment, will do the same for America’s business culture.

Kristy Puchko wonders if this means marathoning on Netflix now counts as progressive political statement?

Kristy Puchko is the film editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.

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