Thursday, August 6, 2015

Netflix Execs should watch their own programs

Emily Steel, writing in the NY Times, tells us that Netflix;
     announced on Tuesday that it was starting an unlimited leave policy for new mothers and fathers for the first year after the birth or adoption of a child.
As part of the new maternity and paternity policy, employees will receive their normal pay. They will be able to return to work part time or full time, and they may also return to work and then take additional time off, if needed.
Our bold in the above paragraph, of course. Tawni Cranz, chief talent officer at Netflix, says her company's success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field.

Just how that's important if the talent doesn't take the field for the game, is sorta ignored. Whatever. By one of the coincidences that makes life educational, we've been reading Nima Sanandaji's Scandinavian Unexceptionalism. In that 160 page PDF, we learn of the anomaly that while Norway has, statistically, one of the healthiest populations on earth, it simultaneously has one of the highest levels of expenditure for sick leave and disability. At 5% of national income, Norway dwarf's the rate for Japan and Canada (0.4%) and the USA's 1.2%.

One of Netflix's contributions to the entertainment of the world gets mentioned in chapter 10 (p.84);
One consequence of the generous welfare policies in Norway is a deterioration in the work ethic. The TV series Lilyhammer, starring Sopranos actor Steven Van Zandt as a US expat to Norway [actually a gangster who has been relocated to Lillehammer under the FBI's Witness Protection Program], regularly makes fun of the lack of work discipline in the country.
Oh, yes. It does, and very effectively.


  1. I think Netflix might be clever here. If they gave everyone 12 weeks, they would see it as an entitlement, and everyone would take 12 weeks. But, with unlimited time off, employees are sending a poor signal with each week they take, so the average time off will be much less. I believe I have seen evidence of this effect somewhere.

  2. Yes, and then someone will do a study showing that those who took more leave had worse career outcomes...and the lawsuits will follow.

    1. Ha! Yeah. You're probably right. There will be disparate impact issues, too.