Babies are awesome. Besides carrying your DNA imprint for another generation, they’ll usually stick around long enough to ease you gently into that good night. But they can also be disruptive as hell, especially if you’re a woman working in the US tech industry — an industry that heavily skews male in a country with the worst family leave protections in the entire developed world.
Although it sounds like a paradox, giving men more time off actually benefits women in the workplace. See, paid maternity leave is often measured in weeks or months, while paid paternity can be as little as a few days — or nothing. Companies that offer family leave allowances to both parents equally set the expectation that fathers will take off just as much time as their child-bearing peers. A 2014 study already showed that if paternity time is paid, men will take it.
The result is greater gender equality at work. Hiring managers and project leads won’t be inclined to discriminate against women out of fear they’ll eventually request maternity leave because both sexes risk abandoning the company during a crucial product delivery phase.
That’s what makes the announcement of Netflix’s unlimited (for the first year) paid maternity and paternity policy (for birth and adoption) so significant. It's equal, it's generous, and it's easy:
"We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances. Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We’ll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay. Each employee gets to figure out what’s best for them and their family, and then works with their managers for coverage during their absences."
Tech companies already promote some of the most progressive parental leave policies in the US. The Netflix announcement raises the bar for Google, Facebook, Apple and others to match.
Because some deliveries are more precious than others.
Five stories to start your day
Last month I spent my Independence Day weekend in Cubelles, Spain — a town about an hour away from Barcelona — invited by Lexus to try out the hoverboard that it had been teasing in video spots since June. As with any hoverboard claim, I was skeptical going in: we knew that Lexus built an entire skatepark for it, but it wasn’t completely clear how it worked (if at all) and why they were going to all the trouble in the first place. Was it even remotely possible that Lexus — of all companies — was going to make the dream of the commercialized, go-anywhere hoverboard come true? Had they really done it?
Pierce Brosnan, no-one's favorite James Bond apart from a few people who played too much Goldeneye 007 on the N64 as kids, has been stopped at an airport in Vermont for carrying a knife. A Burlington police lieutenant tells the AP that Brosnan was "encountered by TSA at one of their checkpoints" because of the knife, and eventually boarded the plane without further incident.
The game promises to take players through the origin story of courier-slash-revolutionary Faith, described by senior EA producer Sara Jansson at Gamescom as "a hero who is truly unique — dare I say the most unique hero in video games." If you enjoyed the first Mirror's Edge then the new footage is pretty much everything you could hope for: there's free-running combat, an expansive (and disquietingly clean) city to explore, and, best of all, no guns.
After some in-character teasing from Ryan Reynolds himself, the full-length Deadpool trailer is officially here. Watch the three-minute red band version above for a bunch of blood spatter and blue language — it was the talk of Comic-Con last month — and there's a lighter green band version below.
The world's longest indoor ski slope will soon be built in the desert kingdom of Dubai. This week, the Gulf emirate announced plans to build a new complex that, when finished, will be home to the world's tallest residential building, the largest dancing fountain, and an indoor ski slope with a 1.2 kilometer (0.75 mile) run — about three times longer than Dubai's current indoor slope, and nearly twice as long as the current world record holder in Germany.