Sad but true: The U.S. is still one of only four nations in the world that fails to guarantee the right to paid maternity leave. Sweden, on the other hand, is unequivocally the sweetest country for working moms or dads, lavishing parents to a whopping 480 paid days off per child. Several top companies here in the U.S. are finally starting to catch up with the progressive Scandinavian nation, particularly in the tech sector.
Just last week, Netflix unveiled a trailblazing unlimited paid leave policy for new moms and dads, inviting them to take off “ as much time as they want” in the year following the birth or adoption of a child. Software giant Microsoft also recently upped its parental leave offering. Adobe quickly followed suit, doubling the paid maternity leave it grants employees.
The message is clear and long overdue: American companies are finally grasping that workers with families require more flexibility than ever before. To get the best out of them -- and to keep them from jumping ship -- employers must step up and seriously support their charges, and not just in the workplace. On the homefront, too. It’s a smart business move, one that we hope goes viral, coast to coast.
Here are 10 leading U.S. companies offering exceptionally generous parental leave policies:
The 18-year-old Los Gatos, Calif.-based streaming media provider offers new parents unlimited paid leave for one year. The pioneering policy enables them to take off as much time as they want during the first 12 months following the birth or adoption of a child. They also have the choice to come back part-time, full-time or to “return and then go back out as needed.” Not bad on top of unlimited vacation time. It bears noting, however, that both unconventional policies only apply to “salaried streaming employees,” not the many individuals who work in Netflix’s DVD distribution centers.
Birth mothers receive a none-too-shabby 20 weeks of paid maternity leave at the eight-year-old company. Meanwhile, new fathers and adoptive parents at Twitter get 10 weeks paid time off. Further cementing its commitment to supporting families with children, the San Francisco, Calif.-based tech social media mammoth also hosts new parent and new parent-to-be roundtables on a quarterly basis. During the meetups, moms and dads ask questions about leave and swap war stories from the messy trenches of parenthood.
Related: Twitter: What Went Wrong
Google, which will soon morph into Alphabet, grants biological moms 18 weeks of fully paid and vested maternity leave. Mothers who experience complications during childbirth are given 22 weeks paid time off. Primary caregivers, regardless of gender, are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid baby-bonding leave, adoptive and surrogate caregivers included. Non-primary caregivers can carve out up to 7 paid weeks off.
On the heels of its maternal leave expansion from 12 weeks to 18 weeks in 2007, Google reported an uptick employee retention. “It just felt like the right thing to do,” a company spokesperson told The Atlantic. Additional perks for parents include priority placement at Bright Horizon child care centers across the U.S. and $500 in “ baby bonding bucks.”
5. Johnson & Johnson
Perhaps best known for its baby products, Johnson & Johnson sure knows how to take care of those who take care of babies. New parents, whether by birth or adoption, who work for the 129-year-old consumer products conglomerate are privy to grocery and laundry pick-up services. Mothers get all of up to 17 weeks of paid leave and fathers nine weeks. The Brunswick, N.J.-based legacy brand’s recently expanded parental leave policy extends to parental units of all stripes -- maternal, paternal, same-sex or adoptive. Time off can be spread out over the first year following birth or adoption.
Facebook, and its hot photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram, furnishes all new mother and father employees with 17 weeks of paid leave. Additionally, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social media behemoth provides a $4,000 “ baby cash” stipend for each child adopted or born.
We’re curious as to how long founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will head out on leave when he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, welcome their first child, a baby girl. Zuck can divvy it up over a year or use it all at once, that is unless the head honcho is an exception to the rule. Facebook also subsidizes adoption programs, child care, and, somewhat controversially, surrogate parenting, sperm donation and egg freezing initiatives.
8. Goldman Sachs
Per its policy published on its official website, Goldman Sachs provides new moms with 16 weeks of paid leave. That includes four weeks of parenting leave at full pay for primary caregivers. Fathers and non-primary caregivers are eligible for four weeks of paid leave. Paid surrogacy and adoption leave is also offered for up to 16 weeks. Breastfeeding new mothers at the New York City-based global financial services firm enjoy around-the-clock access to lactation consultants and are privy to use on-site lactation rooms.
Reddit, which has been struggling to clear a path following a string of controversial leadership decisions, offers new mothers and fathers 17 weeks of paid parenting leave. The San Francisco-based company allows for leave to be taken within the first year in two-week stretches at minimum. Like Zynga, HubSpot and Groupon, the troubled social-sharing platform also offers unlimited vacation time.
9. Bank of America
The global banking giant boasts a progressive family “ life management” program, offering employees who have worked at the company for at least a year up to 12 weeks of paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave. If more time is needed, workers can take up to 14 weeks additional time off without pay.
When it comes to adoption, the Charlotte, N.C.-based banking giant goes above and beyond, reimbursing eligible employees up to $8,000 per legally adopted child. BofA also pays for up to 25 days of childcare center babysitting for kids ages six weeks to 12 years of age, should the primary caregiver be temporarily unavailable during work hours (as in out sick or on vacation). It also reimburses employees up to $240 a month per child for childcare costs incurred while working.
On Nov. 1, Microsoft will roll out its most expansive parental leave policy yet. Piggybacking the tech industry trend, the Redmond, Wash.-based global software colossus will lengthen its maternity and paternity leave to 12 weeks at full pay, with an additional eight weeks of paid leave for birth mothers. Leave can be taken all at once or in intervals. Birth mothers also have the option to go out on short-term disability during the two weeks leading up to their due dates.