Thursday morning, Stockholm-based music streaming service Spotify announced that it is expanding its parental leave benefits. Under the new policy, all global employees—men and women—will have six months of paid parental leave. The company encourages employees to take the full six-month period off and will allow parents take the time in separate chunks—though they must use all of the time within the first three years after having a child.
In addition to the expanded leave policy, employees will get a month of flexibility to “ease back into their job.” During that month, employees will work a part-time schedule and have flexible work hours.
In a statement on the company’s blog, Spotify alluded to its Swedish heritage to explain the changes: “This policy best defines who we are as a company, born out of a Swedish culture that places an emphasis on a healthy work/family balance, gender equality and the ability for every parent to spend quality time with the people that matter most in their lives.”
When it comes to work/life balance and gender equality, Sweden sets the bar high. The country is considered to have the fourth-lowest economic gender gap in the world, and is consistently ranked among the best countries for new mothers. Currently, Sweden mandates three months paid leave for both mothers and fathers, and offers 10 additional months that can be taken by either parent. The U.S., in comparison, does not mandate any parental leave for fathers, and three months unpaid leave for mothers.
Why can’t we all be more like the Swedes?