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Netflix To Offer Workers Year Of Parental Leave

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Netflix is letting new parents on its payroll to take up to a year's paid leave in a move that could pressure other technology employers to improve their baby benefits.

Teacher Claudia Logiudice says she was only allowed to take eight weeks off after the birth of both her children.

CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reports that Logiudice, and many other parents, were stunned to find out about the employee benefit, which was announced Tuesday on Netflix's blog.

The benefit is generous even by the high standards of Silicon Valley, where free meals and other perquisites supplement lavish salaries in the fiercely competitive battle for computer programmers and other technology workers.

"They also say its a way they can maintain good employees," Logiudice said. "Well right, because then you actually want to go back to work. Because you like working at a place that cares about you."

Most moms CBS2 spoke with took about three months off work to be at home with their newborn babies, while most dads didn't take any time off at all.

"When my wife gave birth to my first son I only got two days off work," dad Robert Thomas said. "I think it would be good if both parents could get that time."

Netflix is allowing both new moms and dads to take as much time off as they want during the first year after their child's birth or adoption.

"It's always good to be with your kids," said mom Rebecca Rodriguez. "A year, I think that's great."

Workplace expert Steve Viscusi says the reality is, very few companies can afford such a flexible leave policy -- but it could influence change.

"Smaller companies that can't afford to be as generous will find other ways so maybe you have 4 weeks maternity leave now," Viscusi said. "Gee ... a light bulb has gonna go off and you might increase that to 8 or 12 weeks."

Viscusi says Netflix could find itself making more changes for non-parents who might find the policy unfair.

"I'd love to see an extension of this policy to caring for our elderly parents and that's a fair and equitable way where to consider those who may not have children, or need maternity leave or are past our maternity leave," Viscusi said.

Netflix says they just want their employees to be able to balance the needs of the families without worrying about work or finances, Sanchez reported.

Many took to Twitter to rave about the Netflix announcement, like actress Bridget Moynahan:

Google, which consistently ranks among the best places to work, offers 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. Parents can also take up to 12 weeks of paid "baby bonding" time during their child's first year.

Netflix says the baby-leave policy applies to all of the roughly 2,000 people working at its Internet video and DVD-by-mail services.

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