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Netflix Blazes a Trail for Families ... And It Isn't a House of Cards

We applaud Netflix for implementing unlimited maternity and paternity leave, which puts families first.

Tech companies are known for their innovation in creating services and products that can enhance and enrich our lives. But it's rare to see the kind of innovation we saw coming from Silicon Valley this week when Netflix announced its new maternity and paternity leave program.

In a blog post from Chief Talent Officer Tawni Cranz, the company outlined its new unlimited maternity and paternity leave program:

"Today we're introducing an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads that allows them to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child's birth or adoption. We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances.

"Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We'll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay. Each employee gets to figure out what's best for them and their family, and then works with their managers for coverage during their absences."

The announcement came just hours after the company's stock hit an all-time high. It's good to see that leaders of some companies are sharing their success with their employees and understanding the importance of early bonding between parent and child.

While such a generous leave program may not be viable for all companies, at a bare minimum, we as a nation should be moving toward ensuring that all workers have access to paid family leave.

A recent survey from the National Partnership for Women and Families found that only 13 percent of workers in the United States have access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent have access to personal medical leave through employer-provided short-term disability insurance.

Lawmakers in California have stepped forward to help fill that gap and ensure that workers in our state are given time to bond with a newborn or care for sick family members. Lawmakers in Congress and other states should follow suit.

Reed Hastings and the entire executive crew at Netflix deserve praise for adopting this new policy, demonstrating an understanding of the lasting importance of giving every parent time to bond as a family -- and ensuring that every child has a fair start.

Jim Steyer

Jim is Common Sense Media's CEO and founder -- read all about him here.