Netflix Criticized for Excluding DVD-by-Mail Workers from Baby Leave

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

The online streaming service made headlines with its recent announcement that employees would enjoy up to a year of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child.

Netflix is being criticized for excluding some of its employees from the company's new parental leave policy, which gives workers up to a year of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a baby.

Netflix was widely praised when it announced its new policy earlier this month. But a series of online petitions from activist groups have attacked the company for apparently excluding from the new benefits employees in its DVD-by-mail service.

At least three online petitions – from workers' right group Coworker.org, political organization Democracy for America and women's rights group UltraViolet - are urging Netflix to extend the baby benefit beyond the around 2,000 workers in its streaming video operations to including the roughly 450 temporary, part- and full-time employees in its smaller, but still profitable DVD division.

"Netflix is leaving workers who could benefit the most from a generous paid leave policy behind and that is offensive," Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of women's rights group UltraViolet, told AP.

The protesting groups claim Netflix is unfairly favoring computer programmers and other technology specialists, who are already among the most highly-paid within the company, over lower-paid employees who sort discs and stuff envelopes at Netflix distribution centers. According to information shared by company workers on Glassdoor.com, an employer review website, Netflix pay ranges from $15 per hour for customer-service reps to more than $200,000 a year for software engineers.

In a statement, Netflix said its DVD employees already receive higher wages and greater benefits than people in comparable jobs elsewhere.

“We are regularly reviewing policies across our business to ensure they are competitive and help us attract and keep the best employees," the statement read.

Netflix was founded on its DVD rental service but that portion of the company has long since been overtaken by its Internet SVOD service. Netflix is estimated to have more than 65 million SVOD subscribers worldwide but just 5.3 million DVD-by-mail customers and the latter figure continues to fall year by year. However, the DVD business continues to be highly profitable for Netflix.

Twitter: @sroxborough

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