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Netflix is getting jeered for excluding the employees in its DVD-by-mail service from a recently introduced benefit that gives up to a year of paid leave to most of its workers after the birth or adoption of a baby.
At least three online petitions posted by activist groups are urging Netflix to extend the baby benefit beyond the roughly 2,000 workers in the Internet video service that generates most of its revenue.
Netflix has about 450 temporary, part- and full-time employees in its steadily shrinking but still profitable DVD division.
The protesting groups contend Netflix is unfairly favoring the mostly high-paid computer programmers and other technology specialists working in its Internet video service over the lower-paid employees who sort through discs and stuff envelopes in the distribution centers that receive and send DVDs.
Many of the DVD workers are paid by the hour and make a fraction of the six-figure salaries doled out to many of the Internet video service employees. Netflix pay varies widely, ranging from $15 per hour for customer-service representatives to more than $200,000 annually for software engineers, according to information shared by company workers on employer review website Glassdoor.com.
"Netflix is leaving workers who could benefit the most from a generous paid leave policy behind and that is offensive," said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet, a women's rights group.
Netflix says its DVD employees get bigger paychecks and better benefits than people in comparable jobs. "We are regularly reviewing policies across our business to ensure they are competitive and help us attract and keep the best employees," the Los Gatos, California, company said in a statement.
Besides UltraViolet, the two other groups pressuring Netflix about the limits on its parental leave policy are: Coworker.org, which fights for workers' rights; and Democracy for America, a political organization founded by Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and a one-time candidate for president.