On Thursday, music-streaming service Spotify announced the launch of a broad parental leave program that includes six months’ leave for new mothers and fathers.
Effective immediately, the Swedish-born company is offering full-time employees time off with 100 percent pay, which can be broken up into three separate periods and taken within the first three years of a child’s life (employees who become parents by birth, adoption or surrogacy are all eligible). The policy also extends to employees who became parents as far back as 2013. On top of that, the company is offering a one-month “welcome back” program where new parents can ease back into their work lives with part-time hours and the option to work from home.
According to a statement from Katarina Berg, Spotify’s chief human resources officer, the parental leave policy was created with Swedish cultural values in mind. “This policy best defines who we are as a company, born out of a Swedish culture that 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.”
Spotify joins a growing list of tech companies that have announced new parental leave policies in the last year, including Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft. Some have suggested that the wave of new policies reflects the age demographic of typical tech employees, who started working in their early-to-mid 20s and are now becoming parents.
Stateside, workers’ rights organizations are applauding Spotify’s decision, but caution that the U.S. remains the only developed nation in the world that does not offer federally mandated paid family leave to workers.
“This is great news for Spotify’s employees, and a sign of the times that it joins several other companies in pulling their workplace policies out of the past,” said Vivien Labaton, co-founder and co-director of Make It Work, in a statement. “But these kind of policy changes shouldn’t just be happening in the tech industry. It’s time for our elected officials to take notice and pull America out of the past. Paid family leave is a world standard, and it’s time for America to stop failing its workforce.”
Added Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work,
Our policymakers must take note. Company policies go a long way in influencing culture, and it’s great that some companies are leading the way on this issue. However, these companies remain a small minority. We need a universal social insurance fund like the FAMILY Act so that every working American can both provide and care for their families—new babies but also seriously ill loved ones.
Media Resources: Spotify Press Release 11/19/15; Ms. Magazine Blog 11/4/15; 8/12/15; The Guardian 12/3/14; National Partnership for Women & Families Fact Sheet