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Johnson & Johnson Just Gave New Parents Seven More Weeks of Paid Leave The new employee policy applies to all new parents -- maternal, paternal, same-sex and adoptive.

By Catherine Clifford

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson today announced an additional 7 weeks of paid leave for U.S. employees who have recently become parents. That brings total paid leave up to 17 weeks for moms and a minimum of 9 weeks for dads.

The new paid-time-off policy applies to all new parents, whether maternal, paternal, same-sex or adoptive, and goes into effect on May 1. Johnson & Johnson will retroactively honor the new policy for anyone working at the company who became a parent on or after May 1, 2014, according to a blog post announcing the change in policy.

The time off does not need to be taken consecutively, but must be taken during the first year of the family's birth or adoption.

Related: Parental Employment Benefits Around the World (Infographic)

Parental leave in the United States -- or, more pointedly, the lack thereof -- sits in stark contrast to the much more generous paid leave policies in other countries. The U.S. government mandates that new parents get 12 weeks of unpaid leave during which time their job is protected, but it does not pay companies to give their employees time off after they become parents. The U.S. is the only developed country that doesn't pay for maternity leave, according to a report from the White House published last summer.

By comparison, new parents in Estonia get more than two years of paid time off and in Germany, parents get nearly a year. This is according to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and organized by the Pew Research Center.

Correction: An initial announcement from Johnson & Johnson misstated the number of additional weeks parents will have off under the new policy. That number is 7.

Related: In the Latest Move to Revamp Yahoo's Culture, Marissa Mayer Expands Parental Leave
Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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