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Could longer parental leave at Netflix actually mean less time off?




A mother and baby are out for a walk together. How much time will Netflix employees take off if given free range on parental leave?
A mother and baby are out for a walk together. How much time will Netflix employees take off if given free range on parental leave?
ECohen via Flickr

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Netflix announced an unlimited parental leave policy this week. It’s the latest in a niche tech industry trend towards redefining “time off.”

In Netflix’s case, an employee can practically set his/her work schedule when they become a new parent. Whether it’s vacation time, parental leave, or sick days, a very small number of companies are beginning to adopt policies that are underpinned by the Netflix ethos: treat employees like responsible adults.

Policies like this sound great, but some argue they create a culture where workers actually feel pressured to take less vacation or parental leave than they might if specific parameters were set.

What is the psychology behind these workplace policies? Do employees feel comfortable governing their own time away or do workers need the boundaries set for them? If you had unlimited vacation or parental leave time, would you take more that you would be allotted otherwise?  

Guest:

Ray Baumruk,  partner at the human capital and management consulting  firm Aon Hewitt where he works in its Next Practices and Employee Research business area consulting clients about things like vacation and leave policy