Article creator image

BY Fairygodboss

Parental Leave in Hollywood

Disney Logo

Photo credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

TAGS: Hollywood, Gender equality, Disney, Maternity leave, Parental leave, Comcast/NBCUniversal, Fox

We don't know much about Hollywood (unless watching a lot of movies and the occasional binge on Netflix counts) so we were fascinated to see that these Hollywood studios reveal their maternity and paternity leave policies to the Hollywood Reporter.

Which Hollywood studio is most family friendly? According to this article, it's Disney and Fox.

As originally published in the Hollywood Reporter by  Rebecca Sun.

Disney and Fox lead the pack as THR reviews the benefits of six top studios.

This story first appeared in the 2015 Women in Entertainment issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Tech firms may grab the headlines when it comes to pro­gressive parental leave — Facebook offers four paid months (new dad Mark Zuckerberg is taking two), Spotify six, Netflix technically infinity — but many Hollywood companies also are doing their part to attract and retain talented personnel with generous family benefits. "There is competition for a diverse population of highly skilled workers, and [a generous policy] is one of the most highly visible ways to lure talent," says Milk Your Benefits founder Lauren Wallenstein, who consults expectant parents in California on maximizing their parental leave benefits.

WME partner Esther Chang wasn't planning to take any time off while she was pregnant with her first child, but a medical emergency forced her to deliver eight weeks early. Ultimately she would spend three and a half months on maternity leave — fully paid thanks to the agency's unlimited paid-vacation policy, which allows agents and executives to set aside time for personal and family matters. This policy, along with a parent-friendly working environment that includes lactation stations and the frequent presence of employees' children in the office, makes the agency one of the best places in Hollywood for workers who are pregnant or thinking about it.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides 12 weeks of job-protected parental leave for most employees in the U.S. but does not require companies to pay them. Fortunately for those in showbiz, California is one of the few states to mandate partially paid leave during that time.

Comcast/NBCUniversal waives the hospital visit co-pay for eligible employees in labor, but it's not just birth parents who benefit from its policies. The company, along with Warner Bros., also reimburses employees up to $10,000 for each legal adoption. And children up to the age of 5 can go to work with mom or dad thanks to the accredited day care on the lot (a perk all six major studios offer). "The reassurance of knowing my children were close by and well taken care of helped me immensely," says Universal TV senior vp drama Erin Underhill, whose two children, now 9 and 7, are past participants. "It also made me incredibly grateful to work for a company that understands the importance of supporting working parents."

That type of family-friendly culture was a big part of what attracted Kim Williams to Warner Bros. Entertainment, where she became CFO in January. She found out she was pregnant around the time she received the studio's offer last year, and when she informed her new bosses, "They couldn't have reacted better," she says. "The fact that people refer to 'the Warner Bros. family' was a chief factor in my thought process."

Like Warners, the best companies prove that getting pregnant doesn't mean putting an end to career advancement. A little more than a year after her son Duke was born, Chang was promoted to co-head of WME's talent department. "Having a child has given me better perspective and tenacity," she says. "And because you now need to support your family, you become even more determined in your career."

***

Which Studios Are the Most Family-Friendly

Federal law guarantees 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid parental leave, while California mandates that eligible employees can receive six weeks at roughly half-pay. At a glance, here's how the studios stack up beyond the norm:

Disney

  • 15 months medical leave (480 hours paid)
  • 12 weeks bonding leave (three weeks paid)

Fox

  • No additional policy

Paramount

  • No additional policy

Sony

  • No additional policy

Universal

  • Six months bonding leave (ten weeks paid)

Warner Bros.

  • 10 paid weeks for primary caregiver; two paid weeks for secondary caregiver
  • Six paid weeks additional bonding leave

Related Community Discussions

  • I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and gearing up to go on maternity leave at the end of the month. I recently came across a new job oppurnity that would be better for my family. I'm at the finishing stages of interviewing with this new company and I am worried that I will find out I got the job while on maternity leave. My question is, what happens to my maternity benefits and how do I go about leaving my current job without issue?

  • Any advice for someone searching for work during their first trimester of pregnancy? I currently work with a temp agency for income and am applying for my next role. From what I've read on the boards, it seems that most women are firmly established at their companies but I was forced to look for a new role outside of my former company due to a health condition. They were unwilling to move me to a different role within the company. Any suggestions on how to navigate the next 4-6 months before giving birth?

  • I'm 12 weeks pregnant and just met with HR to find out about our Maternity Leave program only to learn that they only give us unpaid leave (you have to file for state disability to get your 55% salary during those weeks) In talking with other moms, I found they all came back early (because who can really afford to take a big pay cut when you have a new little one to tend to?)

    It never occurred to me to check because kids weren't on the radar when I applied for the job, but I'm totally disheartened that my company that "prides itself" on caring about its people doesn't have something better in place. Has anyone gone to HR to see about improving their policies? I know as a whole our organization had a 12 year tenure when I started and a pretty high average age, so it may have not been on their radar, but I'm shocked that they aren't more progressive. Any advice??

  • Good morning!
    I am seriously stressing about tell my work I am pregnant. Right now I am 9 weeks and 3 days. I work in a very competitive industry (recruiting) just got promoted to Assistant Manager this year and the bosses are mostly men. Its a small business so you would think its family friendly but its not so much. I take on a huge work load and I know it will be upsetting to them (As happy as I am) I know there is nothing they can do legally but I am still scared. I am 38 years old, this is my first, have been at this small company for 8 years. Hard worker for sure so this will be unexpected. I know they do not have maternity leave here so we follow what the state offers. We get short term disability in New Jersey ( 4 weeks before, 6 after) and then I think we can take 6 weeks of FMLA. Now I know once I tell them they do ask what my plan is. I honestly have no idea what my plan is!! Do I need the 4 weeks before? After how long!

    Also, I am going on a preplanned vacation April 1-10, do I tell them when I get back or before I leave?

    Thank you in advance for ANY help, advice, I am quite stressed out!

  • What is the proper etiquette on your first day back from maternity leave? Do you bring a small gift (e.g. box of joe or box of cookies?) I had 2 people covered for me while I'm on a 5 months leave. I would like to show them my gratitude for their additional work. What do you suggest I bring and do I bring it for the whole office of just the 2 people? Or would you bring anything at all?

Find Out

What are women saying about your company?

Click Here

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Share with Friends
  • Share Anonymously

Parental Leave in Hollywood

Parental Leave in Hollywood

We don't know much about Hollywood (unless watching a lot of movies and the occasional binge on Netflix counts) so we were fascinated to see that these...

We don't know much about Hollywood (unless watching a lot of movies and the occasional binge on Netflix counts) so we were fascinated to see that these Hollywood studios reveal their maternity and paternity leave policies to the Hollywood Reporter.

Which Hollywood studio is most family friendly? According to this article, it's Disney and Fox.

As originally published in the Hollywood Reporter by  Rebecca Sun.

Disney and Fox lead the pack as THR reviews the benefits of six top studios.

This story first appeared in the 2015 Women in Entertainment issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Tech firms may grab the headlines when it comes to pro­gressive parental leave — Facebook offers four paid months (new dad Mark Zuckerberg is taking two), Spotify six, Netflix technically infinity — but many Hollywood companies also are doing their part to attract and retain talented personnel with generous family benefits. "There is competition for a diverse population of highly skilled workers, and [a generous policy] is one of the most highly visible ways to lure talent," says Milk Your Benefits founder Lauren Wallenstein, who consults expectant parents in California on maximizing their parental leave benefits.

WME partner Esther Chang wasn't planning to take any time off while she was pregnant with her first child, but a medical emergency forced her to deliver eight weeks early. Ultimately she would spend three and a half months on maternity leave — fully paid thanks to the agency's unlimited paid-vacation policy, which allows agents and executives to set aside time for personal and family matters. This policy, along with a parent-friendly working environment that includes lactation stations and the frequent presence of employees' children in the office, makes the agency one of the best places in Hollywood for workers who are pregnant or thinking about it.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides 12 weeks of job-protected parental leave for most employees in the U.S. but does not require companies to pay them. Fortunately for those in showbiz, California is one of the few states to mandate partially paid leave during that time.

Comcast/NBCUniversal waives the hospital visit co-pay for eligible employees in labor, but it's not just birth parents who benefit from its policies. The company, along with Warner Bros., also reimburses employees up to $10,000 for each legal adoption. And children up to the age of 5 can go to work with mom or dad thanks to the accredited day care on the lot (a perk all six major studios offer). "The reassurance of knowing my children were close by and well taken care of helped me immensely," says Universal TV senior vp drama Erin Underhill, whose two children, now 9 and 7, are past participants. "It also made me incredibly grateful to work for a company that understands the importance of supporting working parents."

That type of family-friendly culture was a big part of what attracted Kim Williams to Warner Bros. Entertainment, where she became CFO in January. She found out she was pregnant around the time she received the studio's offer last year, and when she informed her new bosses, "They couldn't have reacted better," she says. "The fact that people refer to 'the Warner Bros. family' was a chief factor in my thought process."

Like Warners, the best companies prove that getting pregnant doesn't mean putting an end to career advancement. A little more than a year after her son Duke was born, Chang was promoted to co-head of WME's talent department. "Having a child has given me better perspective and tenacity," she says. "And because you now need to support your family, you become even more determined in your career."

***

Which Studios Are the Most Family-Friendly

Federal law guarantees 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid parental leave, while California mandates that eligible employees can receive six weeks at roughly half-pay. At a glance, here's how the studios stack up beyond the norm:

Disney

  • 15 months medical leave (480 hours paid)
  • 12 weeks bonding leave (three weeks paid)

Fox

  • No additional policy

Paramount

  • No additional policy

Sony

  • No additional policy

Universal

  • Six months bonding leave (ten weeks paid)

Warner Bros.

  • 10 paid weeks for primary caregiver; two paid weeks for secondary caregiver
  • Six paid weeks additional bonding leave
thumbnail 1 summary