Spotify's Parental Leave Policy Gives All Global Employees 6 Months Of Paid Time Off, Plus 4 More Policies That Encourage Workplace Equality

You probably already appreciate Spotify for its ability to play virtually any song you want to hear instantly, but here's another reason to love the streaming service: Spotify's parental leave policy offers six months of paid time off to all its employees regardless of gender, during which they will make their full salaries. Employees can spread this time out any way they want during the first three years of each child's life, and their first month back can be part-time, at home, and with flexible hours.

This policy helps advance women in the workplace in a number of ways. First of all, women who want to take time off to raise their kids won't be deterred from attaining their career goals as well. Secondly, those raising children with women will be able to devote time to childcare also so that women aren't stuck being their children's primary caretakers. Equity between partners is a wonderful thing, especially when it comes to parenting.

Spotify is based in Sweden, so it's perhaps unsurprising to find that the new policy is inspired by the company's country of origin. The Swedish government gives each couple 16 months of paid parental leave total, requiring that each person take at least three. But the best part about Spotify's policy is that it applies to all global employees — and given that the company has offices in 18 countries, that's going to bring a generous amount of paid paternal leave to a lot of people who might not otherwise have it. In an announcement on Spotify's blog, Chief Human Resources Officer Katarina Berg wrote:

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.

Given that the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not guarantee paid parental leave, and given how rare it is for American companies to offer such generous family leave options, Spotify's move will help out a lot of women and men stateside. It also provides a stellar example both for U.S. companies and for the government — and so, for that matter, do these other policies companies have adopted both in the United States and abroad. Every organization looking to promote gender equality could learn from these examples:

1. Virgin Offers A Year Of Fully Paid Parental Leave

For get about Spotify's six months: the Virgin Management branch of the British venture capital conglomerate Virgin offers parents a year of completely paid leave if they've been at the company for four years or more (others get partially paid leave), whether they have biological children or adopt. "As a father and now a granddad to three wonderful grandchildren, I know how magical the first year of a child’s life is but also how much hard work it takes," founder Richard Branson said in a statement explaining his decision.

2. Johnson & Johnson Has A Women's Leadership Initiative

The award-winning Women's Leadership Initiative works to advance women at Johnson & Johnson through mentorship and educational programs. Johnson & Johnson also has an Executive Forum for the top 100 women leaders at the company to network, develop their careers, and sponsor women junior to them.

3. Dupont Sets Quotas For Gender And Racial Diversity

The chemical company set a quota back in the '80s to make women and minorities at least half of its new hires, and it exceeded it. In 2014, it set another goal: To increase its female and multicultural workforce by five percent by 2017. Though continuously working toward a more diverse workforce requires moving beyond quotas, they still provide a good baseline.

4. Abbott Laboratories Offers Work/Life Programs

Healthcare company Abbott provides wellness coaching, resource referral services, a daycare center, financial aid for adoption and fertility treatments, and flexible work options like job sharing and compressed weeks. For all these reasons, it was named one of Working Mother 's top ten best companies.

Images: Sorosh Tavakoli, Joao Carlos Medau, Matthew Frederickson/Flickr; Raysonho /Wikimedia Commons