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Netflix, Microsoft giving new parents one year of paid leave

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Netflix announced an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads to take as much time as they want, with pay, during the first year after a child's birth or adoption. (KGO-TV)

One day after Netflix announced one of the most generous parental leave policies in the country, Microsoft is following suit.

Many people are curious as to how this will play out in Silicon Valley. Every company's culture is a little different but experts say smart employers will do what is needed to keep their employees happy.

The competition for the best tech talent is heating up in Silicon Valley. "A lot of our tech companies are known for their very young workforce," Joint Venture Silicon Valley's Rachel Massaro said.

More companies are trying to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

"As the companies age, and as their workers age, this has been an impending issue. What are the companies going to do when their employees start having babies," Massaro said.

Netflix, based in Los Gatos, announced an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads to take as much time as they want, with pay, during the first year after a child's birth or adoption, provided they are a full-time salary employee.

"I just think it's wonderful. I'm speaking as a woman who's worked for 43 years and raised two kids and had a really hard time finding childcare," San Jose resident Frances Mullin said.

"A year? That's amazing. I'm kind of shocked by it actually," Seattle resident Heather Forte.

Microsoft also announced a change to its maternity and paternity leave policy, upping the period from four weeks to four months.

But some say what may work well for one company doesn't necessarily mean success for another.

"Benefits and perks are not a reason for tech talent in particular to go to an employer and stay with them long term," Glassdoor.com analyst Scott Dobroski said.

Glassdoor is a website where workers from a variety of industries share information about their compensation.

Dobroski says it's possible that other Silicon Valley companies could jump on the bandwagon or maybe do something entirely different.

"They will dive deeper into what their own employees have to say about what's working well at their company, what needs improvement, and make other changes, perhaps other benefits and perks that we haven't seen yet," he said.

Regardless, the moves from Microsoft and Netflix are reigniting a conversation about the importance of having a work-life balance.

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