(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. will give new fathers paid parental leave and extendpaid maternity leave for mothers, as the online retailer seeks toenhance its benefits as a way to attract and retain talent.

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Women who have a child can now take as much as 20 weeks of paidleave, up from eight weeks. New parents can take six weeks of paidparental leave. The Seattle-based company previously didn’t offerpaternity leave. The new benefits apply to all births or adoptionson or after Oct. 1, according to a memo distributed to employeesMonday.

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Amazon’s changes come three months after video-streaming serviceNetflix Inc. raised the bar ontime-off for new parents in August by offering as much as one yearof paid leave to new mothers and fathers in the first 12 monthsafter a child’s birth or adoption. At Facebook Inc., mothers andfathers get four months paid leave plus $4,000 in “baby cash,”while at Google Inc. employees are entitled to 18 weeks of parentalleave. Microsoft Corp. in August said it would offer 12 weeks ofpaid time-off for all new parents.

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Technology companies offer generous benefits compared with otherindustries because of competition for top talent. Issues of genderequality and family balance have also become hot- button topics inthe industry. Only 12 percent of U.S. private- sector employeeshave access to any paid family leave through their jobs, accordingto the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. is the only nation in thedeveloped world that doesn’t mandate maternity leave with pay.

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Amazon’s expanded parental benefits also follow increasedscrutiny over the company’s treatment of workers after a scathingNew York Times report in August portrayed the online retailer as apressure cooker where worker hardships are ignored andback-stabbing is encouraged. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezosrejected the article and Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice presidentfor global corporate affairs, responded last month with a blog postthat refuted some of the newspaper’s claims.

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Sam Kennedy, a spokesman for Amazon, declined to comment onthe new parental leave policy.

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