Top Stories

August 06, 2015


Netflix offers year of paid maternity and paternity leave

Netflix announced on Tuesday that it is starting an unlimited leave policy for new mothers and fathers for the first year after the birth or adoption of a child. As part of the policy, employees will receive their normal pay. They will be able to return to work part time or full time, and they may also return to work and then take additional time off, if needed. This policy far exceeds typical such leave at corporations in the US, where there are few federal policies aimed at working parents. Tech companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco have often been among the most progressive when it comes to family leave. Google extended its paid maternity leave to 18 weeks from 12 weeks in 2007. After the extension, the company found that returning mothers left the company at half the rate they were previously. (The New York Times)


SEC approves rule on CEO pay ratio

After a long delay and plenty of resistance, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved a rule that would require most public companies to regularly reveal the ratio of the chief executive’s pay to that of the average employee. Representatives of corporations were quick to assail the new rule, which will start to take effect in 2017, saying that it was misleading, costly to put into practice and intended to shame companies into paying executives less. But the ratio, cropping up every year in audited financial statements, could stoke and perhaps even inform a debate over income inequality that has intensified in recent years. Fifty years ago, chief executives were paid roughly 20 times as much as their employees, compared with nearly 300 times in 2013, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute. (The New York Times)

Human Rights

How an ‘Indian worker slapped’ shocked an Arab nation

A video of a Bahraini apparently slapping a man who appears to be a migrant worker has shocked social media users across the country, and now led to several arrests. The video has come to the attention of the country’s foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmad al-Khalifa, who tweeted his support for the victim: “He came from his country bearing homesickness and being away from family, to work in the toughest of jobs for a modest wage. And a despicable person comes and slaps him #Indian_Worker_Slapped”. According to Human Rights Watch, around 460,000 migrant workers, mostly from Asia, make up 77 percent of Bahrain’s private workforce. They often struggle with issues such as unpaid wages, passport confiscation, unsafe housing, excessive work hours, physical abuse and forced labour. (BBC)


China to embed Internet police in tech firms

China’s government plans to embed cybersecurity police units at major Internet companies and websites to help prevent crimes such as fraud and “spreading of rumors,” reports Xinhua News Agency. It is an unusually hands-on approach by Beijing, which typically sets censorship standards and puts the onus on companies to comply. China’s Internet regulator has previously favoured tactics such as threatening to shut down services that didn’t meet censorship requirements. China’s Ministry of Public Security didn’t say which companies will have the new police units. “We are concerned by these reports,” said a spokesman for the White House National Security Council. “The United States’ commitment to Internet freedom reflects our deep-seated belief that individuals have the same universal human rights online and offline.” (Wall Street Journal)

International Development

Study reveals 12 million people have no cooking arrangements in India

Around 12 million people in India have no proper cooking arrangements. The situation is worse in urban India, where around seven per cent of households lack cooking arrangements while in rural India over one per cent of households are deprived of the facility. The facts were revealed by a National Sample Survey Organisation report based on a survey carried out in 2011-12. Maharashtra (3.8 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (2.7 per cent) are the top two states which reported “no cooking arrangement”. According to the report, the situation has worsened over the years. It highlights a significant rural-urban divide, with 68 percent of urban households cooking using gas but the majority of rural households dependent on firewood. (Eco-Business)

Image Source: Baking Chapatis by Sandstein / CC BY 2.0