Spotify's Sweet Parental Leave Program

The music streaming service Spotify announced a new parental leave policy this week that Ms. Magazine calls "impressive." The company is offering parents, whatever gender, 100 percent pay for six months.

Not only that. Spotify is also giving parents flexibility about how and when to take the time. The policy is being hailed by workers' rights organizations who hope that more American companies will adopt the Swedish cultural values that Spotify says is behind the new family leave.

Swedish Cultural Values

Spotify's head of human resources said in a statement, "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."

What that means in concrete terms is that, effective immediately, full-time employees may take six months 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. The policy is for all parents, whether by birth, adoption, or surrogacy and is being applied retroactively. It extends to employees who became parents as far back as 2013.

Employees also have a new one-month "welcome back" program where parents can ease back into their work lives with part-time hours and the option to work from home.

American Employment

Sounds sweet, right? Unfortunately, the word is that working parents in this country should not hold their breath. It is unlikely that employers in this country will soon be fashioning such generous family leave policies, following Spotify's footsteps.

"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. She called on elected officials to take notice and "pull America out of the past" saying, "Paid family leave is a world standard, and it's time for America to stop failing its workforce."

If you are an employer or employee concerned about family leave, speak to an employment attorney. A lawyer can help clarify your right and legal obligations in that regard.

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