parental maternity leaveStarting a family marks a whole new chapter in your life – but it shouldn’t mean a choice between your family and your career. Big corporations are recognising the need to get their acts together to support employees who start families. And not before time! But who’s coming top of the parental leave league tables?

And the winner is…
According to recent survey results by tech news site Recode, big names across the tech world offer the most paid full-time maternity and paternity cover. Netflix came out on top, with a staggering 52 weeks of paid full-time parental leave, trailed by Microsoft and Airbnb (22 weeks each), then Twitter and Amazon (20 weeks).

It’s surprising, because this is an industry sector that has struggled to employ enough women – yet there are substantial efforts to give mothers bumper maternity leave, as well as fathers. Why?

Of its 3,400 global workforce, 41% of Netflix employees are women – and Airbnb has the same proportion too. Microsoft appears to have the lowest percentage of women at 26% in its global workforce of 74,191 employees.

For Amazon, around 39% of its 341,000-strong workforce is women. And it seems like it’s listening to what its employees want (or at least the bad press). They cleaned up their act after receiving big criticisms for poor parental leave policies back in 2015.

Now, they offer up to 20 weeks of maternity cover for new mums, and 6 weeks’ paternity leave for dads. Amazon also introduced their ‘Leave Share’ policy, which lets employees share up to six weeks’ paid leave with their partners. That’s great for partners whose employers don’t offer any paid parental leave.

What does parental leave look like outside the tech industry?
Marketplace site Etsy offers up to 24 weeks’ paid parental leave, plus parental coaching programs including adoption and surrogacy for new parents. CEO Chad Dickerson says that “Building a company is a team effort that includes the immense support we get from our families”. Quite right.

Meanwhile, Starbucks offers a parental leave policy of up to 12 weeks paid maternity cover for birth mums, as long as they work a minimum of 20 hours per week. American Express offers 20 weeks’ paid maternity cover for all birth, adoptive or surrogate parents, whether they work full or part-time. They also pay a parental benefits package of £25,000 to assist with adoption or surrogacy.

Leading baby product brand Johnson and Johnson offers mums up to 17 weeks’ paid maternity cover, and up to 9 weeks for dads, plus additional perks like grocery and laundry pick-up services.

At Swedish furniture chain IKEA, the company offers a paid parental leave policy of up to 16 weeks, open to all mums, dads, and adoptive and foster parents – a unicorn in the retail sector.

Spotify, similar in its Swedish culture, offers an impressive 24 weeks’ paid maternity and paternity cover to full-time parents. Katarina Berg, Chief HR officer, says the policy “places an emphasis on a healthy work/family balance, gender equality and the ability for every parent to spend quality time with the people that matter most in their lives”.

It would be great to see more companies following that lead!