Vodafone is to 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.
Vodafone says that, other than the United Nations, very few global organisations – and even fewer multinational corporations – have adopted minimum maternity policies of this kind. A number of Vodafone subsidiaries already offer substantial maternity care terms which will continue as before, but the company says the new mandatory minimum global maternity policy will make a significant difference to the lives of thousands of Vodafone women employees in countries where there is little or no legislative requirement to provide maternity support.
Vodafone also announced 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 estimated 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
– if 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.
The analysis also found that:
– offering mothers a global return-to-work policy equivalent to a four-day week at full pay for their first six months back to work after maternity leave could save working mothers a cumulative $14 billion in childcare for their new babies; and
– a four-day week would enable mothers to spend a cumulative 608 million additional days with their newborn babies.
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. Our new mandatory minimum global maternity policy will support over 1,000 Vodafone women employees every year in countries with little or no statutory maternity care.
“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, a better culture and a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs.”