Microsoft on Wednesday announced an expanded parental leave policy for its US-based employees, a day after a similar move by streaming television giant Netflix.
The tech giant said that from November 1, it would offer full pay for 12 weeks to new mothers and fathers, plus eight additional weeks of maternity disability, bringing the total for mothers to 20 weeks.
Until now, Microsoft had offered four weeks paid and eight weeks unpaid time off for new parents in addition to maternity disability.
"When I look at how rapidly the traditional workplace is changing, not just at Microsoft, but throughout business in general, I see a tremendous opportunity for companies to put a stake in the ground around what they believe in and what kind of culture they want to build together with employees," Microsoft vice president for human resources Kathleen Hogan said in a blog post.
"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. A key component of this is supporting our employees with benefits that matter most to them."
Microsoft said it was adding two new paid holidays, Martin Luther King Day in January and Presidents' Day in February, bringing the total to 12, including two floating holidays. It also is boosting the company contribution for its retirement saving plan, known as a 401k.
The new policy affects some 60,000 US-based Microsoft employees. Hogan said that outside the United States, "we will continue to review what's offered in each country and work to align to our global benefits philosophy and the local regulations and dynamics in each market."
The move comes a day after Netflix announced it is offering up to one year of paid parental leave to both male and female employees after the birth of a child.
Netflix said the move was aimed at boosting job satisfaction and retaining top talent.
"We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances," Tawni Cranz from Netflix said late Tuesday.
"Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We'll just keep paying them normally," Cranz said.
Explore further: Microsoft wants US suppliers to give employees paid time off