Telecommunications provider Vodafone is to roll out an update to its global parental leave policy, offering all employees 16 weeks of fully paid leave.
The new leave offering, which was announced on 31 October 2019, will be available to all of Vodafone’s employees, of which it has approximately 99,000, across 24 markets in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the US. It will also be available to staff regardless of gender, sexual orientation or length of service.
This follows the organisation’s introduction in March 2015 of a global standard maternity policy allowing female employees 16 weeks of leave.
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Vodafone’s standardising of its parental leave policy aims to support new parents, including those whose partners are giving birth, or who have become parents through surrogacy or adoption.
Employees will be able to choose to take the leave allowance in flexible blocks during the first 18 months following the birth or adoption of a child.
In addition, all staff will be offered the opportunity to return to work after this period of leave with reduced hours, working 30 hours per week for a further six months, while continuing to receive full pay. This arrangement is currently available to female employees as part of the existing global parental leave policy.
The new policy will be rolled out to all employees across all of Vodafone’s markets globally by the end of March 2021.
This equal leave provision is being introduced as part of Vodafone’s approach to diversity and inclusion. The organisation aims to become a top employer for women by 2025.
Nick Read, chief executive officer at Vodafone Group, said: “Diversity and inclusion are core to our beliefs and purpose at Vodafone. We are proud to support all families by giving every parent the opportunity to have more time with their children, without worrying about the impact on their finances or careers.”