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Paid Leave This Week: Netflix and Microsoft Make Life Easier for New Parents

Sean Gallup/Getty Images News

As part of our ongoing coverage of paid leave, we’re rounding up the most important news from the week. Here’s what you need to know about paid leave, working parents, and child care in the United States and abroad.

Netflix will offer new moms and dads “unlimited’ paid leave. Employees can take off as much time as they want in the first year after their child’s birth, a policy that’s unprecedented even by Silicon Valley’s generous standards. 

But maybe that’s not such a great thing? Vox and ThinkProgress point out that workers with “unlimited” leave or vacation feel pressure to get back to the office sooner and can end up taking less time off than if they had a defined policy. 

Microsoft is also jumping on the bandwagon. A day after Netflix made headlines, Microsoft announced an upgrade to its own family leave policy: new parents will now be able to take 12 weeks of paid leave. And when they are ready to go back to work, they have the option to start on a part-time basis.

Obama takes action on sick leave. The president drafted an executive order requiring all government contractors to offer employees seven days of paid leave when they are sick or caring for an ill relative.

Is maternity leave about gender equality or increased productivity? Politico speaks to the woman trying to push a paid maternity leave plan through the European Commission. The first proposal failed, so now she’s trying to win support by de-emphasizing women’s rights and focusing on the economic benefits.