This excerpt taken from the NFLX DEF 14A filed Apr 6, 2009.
Termination-Based Compensation and Change in Control Retention Incentives
The Named Executive Officers are beneficiaries of the Companys Executive Severance and Retention Incentive Plan. Under this plan, each employee of the Company at the level of Vice President or higher is entitled to a severance benefit upon termination of employment (other than for cause, death or permanent disability) so long as he or she signs a waiver and release of claims and an agreement not to disparage the Company, its directors or its officers in a form reasonably satisfactory to the Company. The severance benefit consists of a lump sum cash payment equal to nine (9) months of base pay and nine (9) months of the cash equivalent to the stock option allowance then being used in calculating the number of options granted monthly to such employee. The right to receive a severance benefit terminates upon a change in control transaction, so that the beneficiaries of the plan are not entitled to both a change in control benefit as well as a severance benefit.
In lieu of the severance benefit, employees covered by the plan who are employed by the Company on the date of a change in control transaction are entitled to receive a lump sum cash payment equal to twelve (12) months of base pay and twelve (12) months of the cash equivalent to the stock option allowance then being used in calculating the number of options granted monthly to such employee.
The Company also has a plan for its director level employees that provides those employees who are employed by the Company on the date of a change in control transaction with a lump sum cash payment equal to six (6) months of base pay and six (6) months of the cash equivalent to the stock option allowance then being used in calculating the number of options granted monthly to such employee. While director level employees are not guaranteed any severance, to the extent any severance is provided, payment associated with the change in control will be in lieu of or otherwise offset against any such severance payment.
The Company believes that it was appropriate to make such payment upon the single-trigger event of a change in control in order to reduce distractions associated with the uncertainty surrounding change in control transactions and to lessen potential conflicts that might otherwise arise when a Company executive must rely on the decisions of the acquiring company for either continued employment or severance.
The benefits owing under the plans are to be paid to the beneficiary by the Company as soon as administratively practicable following the completion of all conditions to the payment, but in no event more than two and one half months following the date of the triggering event. The Company believes that benefits under the Companys Executive Severance and Retention Incentive Plan are consistent with similar benefits offered to executive officers of similarly situated companies and moreover, the Plan is an important element in advancing the Companys overall compensation philosophy of attracting and retaining outstanding performers. Each of the terms base pay, cause and change in control are defined in the plan, a copy of which is attached as Exhibit 10.2 to the Companys Form 8-K filed on July 5, 2005.