Netflix announced Tuesday that it’s allowing employees to take unlimited maternity or paternity leave during the first year after their child’s birth or adoption.

I'm pretty late in the game but I'll try and answer this because I work for a company that processes FMLA for other, large companies. Note that I am a longwinded but competent drunk. Another gin and tonic and I'll get into state leave laws.

FMLA is basically the U.S. government making sure that if you have a serious health condition or need to 'bond' with a newborn and meet certain criteria, that you have Federal job protection. This federal 'job protection' extends to mothers/fathers who want to bond with their newborns/newly-adopted children. In a year's time, anyone meeting the conditions** gets 12 weeks of unpaid leave within the year cycle.

Not bad, but my company, like most in its field, also accommodates corporate leaves.* A corporate leave may allow 6 months. It may allow a year, of bonding with a newborn. But a corporate leave does not always allow what we call 'job protection.' As in, the leave itself is more a bureaucratic process, but does not share the FMLA perk of protection from being terminated for being out of work for the reason of bonding with a newborn.

Furthermore, by what criteria does Netflix allow this? Federal laws require that employers allow for 12 weeks of 'bonding' with the newborn (assuming the employee meets the criteria) but a company has the ability to set limitations. One of these limitations is that an employee cannot take time off for bonding off and on. It has to be one continuous period. Once the employee returns to work, they are no longer eligible to job-protected leave for that reason.

TLDR: In the US, laws already allow for 12 weeks of leave. Netflix's year-long extension is great, but the question remains as to if it allows job protection and also it is allows leave intermittently during that year, or if that benefit is forfeit upon the first return to work.

*To my knowledge, my company has no affiliation with Netflix and the content within this post regards general laws and practices and in no way discloses how my personal place of business does things, much less how Netflix might do things. I, frankly, have no idea. I'm talking about law and what companies can/might do, not what is in any context reflective of my place of work, save where the law is concerned.

**FMLA conditions: You have worked 12 months for the same employer within the past 7 years (not necessarily consecutive). In the past, consecutive 12-months you have worked 1250 hours. Your employer has 50 employees within a 75 mile radius. Military has its own rules.

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