• Streaming, DVD, customer-service workers get added pay
  • Groups had criticized hourly laborers' exclusion from perks

Netflix Inc. expanded parental benefits for hourly workers in its streaming, DVD and customer-service divisions, granting full pay for maternity leave and including paternity and adoptions as well.

Hourly employees in Netflix’s streaming operation will receive as many as 16 weeks at full pay for maternity, paternity and adoptions, the Los Gatos, California-based online TV network said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. For DVD-by-mail, it’s 12 weeks, and customer-service workers will be covered for 14 weeks.

The added benefits narrow the gap some between hourly employees and salaried streaming workers, who get up to one year off as new parents and can take as much vacation time as they see fit. Netflix and other tech employers like Amazon.com Inc. have increased benefits for new parents to attract talent in a competitive marketplace. Advocacy groups criticized Netflix for excluding its hourly DVD workers from those perks, and campaigned for changes.

“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.”

Netflix’s plans to expand parental leave for part-time employees were reported Dec. 4 by Workforce magazine, which said the company will allow four months of parental leave, citing chief talent officer Tawni Cruz.

Previously, Netflix didn’t provide paid leave at all for paternity or adoptions in the DVD, streaming and customer service units. The company gave two-thirds pay for maternity disability in its streaming and DVD units, and covered maternity at 60 percent of regular pay for customer service.

“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,” Netflix said in the statement. “This provides them both flexibility and stability at this exciting, yet challenging, time of their lives.” 

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