Chalk up another win for parents at tech companies. Spotify, the Swedish music streaming service, just announced a new, global paid parental leave policy that will apply to all its full-time employees worldwide.
According to a statement from Spotify’s chief human resource officer Katarina Berg, the benefits are effective immediately and include:
- Up to six months’ parental leave with 100% pay; inclusive of birth, adoption, or surrogacy.
- Parents will be able to take their leave up to the child’s third birthday, with all Spotify employees who had children from the beginning of 2013 also eligible for the benefit.
- Mothers and fathers are encouraged to take the full time off, with the added flexibility of splitting their leave into separate periods.
- A one-month “Welcome Back!” program, allowing returning team members to ease back into their job with the ability to work from home, on a part-time schedule, and with flexible hours.
“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,” Berg wrote.
Spotify is the latest company to announce a more generous parental leave policy. Others have included Netflix, Adobe, and Amazon. This is the first time a company has extended the leave through the child’s third birthday and included surrogacy among those eligible for the benefit.
The announcement will be a boon to employees in the U.S., which still lags behind countries such as Sweden in that it has no federally mandated paid leave for new parents.
However, with the generosity comes skepticism that staff will actually be encouraged to take the time they need off. When Amazon announced their new policy after a mountain of bad press about its competitive culture, Ellen Bravo, the executive director of Family Values @ Work, told Fast Company that in many workplaces where paid leave is offered, it’s often frowned upon.
This happens especially with new fathers who struggle with managing increased responsibility at work with the desire to spend more time with their families.
Spotify’s FAQ on the policy addressed this by acknowledging the fact that rich or unlimited leave policies often result in staff taking less time off because of unspoken expectations. The company then countered with other research that indicates these type of polices can be successful if the culture encourages it and flexibility is available to all.
“Our Swedish-inspired culture proves that we do have an environment where a rich time-off policy can be successful,” says Berg. “This is what differentiates Spotify from other companies, and why we believe employees all around the world will be comfortable (and expected) to take their full parental leave time with the support of their peers, managers, and leaders.”
Bravo, who was in the audience at Spotify for today’s announcement, said in a statement, “Spotify knows the positive impact this paid family leave policy will have on increasing women’s equality and diversity, attracting more women in tech, and its importance to families. It is heartening to see a best-practice employer like Spotify speaking out on this issue, and we applaud you and other businesses at the table for helping us move this forward.”