While staff in the international company's Stockholm office currently benefit from the 480 days of paid leave that all Swedish employees legally are entitled to, those hired in other major cities including London, Sydney, Paris and New York have not been given the same deal.
In announcing its new generous maternity and paternity scheme, Spotify said that the perk was “consistent with the parental leave policy in place for employees in Stockholm”, stating it believed it was “the right thing to do” to have a “consistent” and “global” offering for mums and dads.
In Sweden, it is standard practice for employers to offer staff 80 percent of their salaries during their time away from the office (although this is capped for those earning more than 37,083 kronor – around $4,265 – a month). Mothers and fathers are both entitled and encouraged to share the leave.
Spotify which launched in 2008, said this week that from 2016, all of its 1,600 staff would get six months of parental leave on full pay. Employees who have had children since the beginning of 2013 will also be eligible for the benefit, since parents will be allowed to take their time off at any point between the birth of their child and his or her third birthday.
Swedes already enjoying the country's generous parental leave. Photo: Martin Svalandar/Image Bank Sweden
The Swedish firm is also introducing a so-called 'Welcome Back!' programme, allowing team members greater flexibility when returning to the company following time off, including the chance to work both flexibly, part-time and from home.
“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,” said Katarina Berg, Chief Human Resources Officer for the streaming service.
Sources close to the company told The Local on Friday that the move was not surprising given that many of the firm's management team were now in their late 30s and based in the United States, where companies do not legally have to offer any paid leave to parents.
This was also hinted at in Berg's statement: “Spotify is growing up fast and the team’s responsibilities at home and at work are growing with us. With this in mind, today we’re introducing a new, global, parental leave policy, developed to support all of our staff with families, wherever they are in the world”.
But in practice the policy may not bring equality across the board, since salaries for senior roles in New York are typically higher than those in Stockholm.
The announcement of the new strategy comes as the company continues to record operating losses, despite establishing a user base of 75 million people in around countries.
Spotify's loss in 2014 amounted to 1.5 billion kronor ($182 million), compared to 46.1 million in 2013. The company's operating income was also negative, according to the Luxembourg-based holding company Spotify Technologies.