Following Netflix's Tuesday announcement that its employees can take a full year of unlimited, paid parental leave, Microsoft responded Wednesday with an extension of its own policy that will give mothers up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave.
Microsoft said mothers and fathers can now take up to 12 weeks for parental leave and receive 100 percent payment. That's up from the company's previous policy of 12 weeks of parental leave, of which only four were paid. Microsoft is also giving mothers another two weeks of short-term disability leave prior to their scheduled due date.
The policy revision comes on top of the eight weeks of fully paid maternity disability leave that Microsoft already offered, meaning mothers at the Redmond, Washington, company can now take off 22 weeks -- of which 20 will be fully paid -- to care for their new children. Additionally, Microsoft will give its employees the option of taking their parental leave in one continuous 12-week period or two split periods. Employees also will be able to work part-time when they return. The new policies will take effect Nov. 1.
"As we ask our employees to bring their 'A' game to work every day to achieve our mission, we believe it’s our responsibility to create an environment where people can do their best work," Microsoft said in a blog post. "A key component of this is supporting our employees with benefits that matter most to them."
Besides extended parental leave benefits, Microsoft added two new holidays to the company calendar, giving its employees Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day starting in 2016. The company also beefed up its 401(k) benefits and said it will now match 50 percent of all employee deferrals, up from matching 6 percent.
"The people of Microsoft truly are what make our company great," Microsoft said. "These changes are in direct support of the culture we aspire to have -- one that allows people to build meaningful careers."