Vodafone has announced that it will become one of the first organisations in the world to introduce a mandatory minimum global maternity policy.
By the end of 2015, women working at all levels across Vodafone’s 30 operating companies in Africa, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the US will be offered at least 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave, as well as full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months after their return to work.
Vodacom South Africa employees will have the option to choose between the current Vodacom maternity policy, which offers six months fully paid maternity leave, or the new Vodafone policy.
The policy will include Vodacom’s international operations in Mozambique, Tanzania, Lesotho and the DRC.
Currently, the law in SA enables pregnant women to take 4 months of maternity leave, starting one month before their due date.
SA men are afforded only three days’ ‘family responsibility leave’ a year.
Matimba Mbungela, Vodacom’s Chief HR Officer, said the new policy will help attract and retain some of the best talent in the country.
“Women currently make up a significant number of Vodacom’s workforce and as such it is a top priority for us to create an environment that enables them to raise a family and have a career.”
Vodafone revealed the outcome of analysis commissioned from KPMG which indicates that global businesses could save up to an estimated $19 billion annually through the provision of 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave.
KPMG found that:
- Recruiting and training new employees to replace women who do not stay in the workforce after having a baby costs global businesses $47 billion every year;
- Offering women 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave rather than the statutory minimum would cost businesses an additional $28 billion a year; and
- Ff businesses were able to retain more women in the workforce after their maternity leave, they could save up to $19 billion a year and would retain the knowledge and experience of these women with positive consequences for productivity and effectiveness.
Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao, said: “Too many talented women leave working life because they face a difficult choice between either caring for a newborn baby or maintaining their careers.
“Women account for 35% of our employees worldwide but only 21% of our international senior leadership team. We believe our new maternity policy will play an important role in helping to bridge that gap. Supporting working mothers at all levels of our organisation will ultimately result in better decisions.”