Case study: Amnesty International targets gold standard policy for maternity leave

One organisation that has a lot of experience with maternity leave planning is human rights group Amnesty International UK. Its average staff age is 37 and two-thirds of its 200 employees are female.

The charity pays 26 weeks’ salary at full pay and 13 weeks at the statutory maternity pay rate or 90% of the employee’s normal wage, whichever is lower. During paid maternity leave, it provides full employer pension contributions and childcare vouchers.

Louise Court, head of human resources, says: “In 2007, we made a conscious decision to work towards a gold-standard maternity policy that would be among the best in the voluntary sector.”

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Over 90% of Amnesty’s female employees return from maternity leave and it has so far granted all workers’ requests for flexible or part-time working. “We believe [our maternity leave policy] has given us a continuity of knowledge and skills that we would otherwise not have had, and in the long term has been cost-effective,” says Court.

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