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Netflix makes big announcement affecting parental, paternal leave

42356456_S.jpgMothers and fathers who share custody can struggle enormously when it comes to raising children separately but together. There are challenges that come no matter who you are, how much time you spend with your child or what type of relationship you have with the other parent.

However, fathers can face some unique challenges when it comes to co-parenting. Men may have to worry about paternity tests, child support and certain presumptions about a father's role as a caregiver. Thankfully, this last item appears to be less and less apparent and the recognition of fathers' rights is changing in some important and beneficial ways.

For example, recently, Netflix made an announcement regarding parental leave that benefits fathers and mothers equally. In some workplaces, mothers are granted maternity leave while fathers must utilize other resources like sick time or vacation days to bond with their newborn or adopted child.

Netflix, however, announced that all new parents -- both fathers and mothers -- working at the company will be given the opportunity to take as much parental leave as they need in the year following a child's birth or adoption. Employees will be able to then come back full-time or part-time, all while still getting paid.

The move is a unique one, to be sure. Many companies would not or could not offer this type of benefit to parents whether they are mothers or fathers. And while it may not be a move that will be widely copied, it is one that has garnered a lot of national attention and could have some companies rethinking the leave that is offered to new parents.

The fact that Netflix's new policy does not exclude men or treat them differently is also something that has people taking note. It is no longer unusual for fathers to want to have time off to bond with a new child, but some workplace policies do not allow for this or they only offer the bare minimum of protection and time off.

It will be interesting to see if companies in Columbia adopt similar practices, but in the meantime, any father with questions about his rights as a parent is encouraged to discuss them with an attorney.

Source: CNBC, "Netflix to offer employees up to one year of parental leave," Zack Guzman, Aug. 4, 2015

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