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Vodafone has launched a new Global Parental Leave Policy for all employees, regardless of length of service.
Vodafone has launched a new Global Parental Leave Policy which offers employees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or length of service, 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave.
Under the policy, any employee whose partner is having a baby, adopts a child or becomes a parent through surrogacy will have the flexibility to take up to 16 weeks paid leave at any time during the first 18 months.
Vodafone employees will also be able to phase their return from parental leave by working the equivalent of 80% of their normal working week on full pay for up to six months.
The policy adds to existing global policies such as its Global Domestic Violence and Abuse Policy, which it launched on International Women’s Day 2019, its Global Maternity Policy [launched in 2015] and ReConnect, its global returners programme, which launched in 2017. It is part of Vodafone’s aim to be the world’s best employer for women by 2025 and recognises that equality of choice over parental leave is key to that.
The policy comes as Vodafone UK published a report by WPI Strategy, Lost Connections: Supporting carers in the workplace in 2021 and beyond, which highlights the challenges facing unpaid carers, defined as ‘those helping another person, usually a relative or friend, in their day-to-day life’.
The report suggests women are more than twice as likely as men to leave their jobs due to caring responsibilities and highlights the benefits of flexible working seen during the pandemic.
Two polls of over 2,000 people in total carried out for the report found that almost 10% of female carers said the main reason for leaving their last job was caring responsibilities (compared with 4% of male respondents).
While 46% of respondents said that caring has resulted in them feeling more lonely or isolated, it found that flexible working was vital, with 92 per cent saying it would be harder to balance work and caring responsibilities without access to technology.
Helen Lamprell, General Counsel and External Affairs Director at Vodafone UK, said: “We are living through extraordinary times. Covid-19 has both heightened and highlighted the challenges facing unpaid carers in the workplace, and particularly women who tend to take on the lion’s share of caring duties. At Vodafone, we recognise the importance of unpaid carers to society and are committed to providing greater support to working carers. I’m delighted that our new Global Parental Leave policy comes into force today, giving parents more opportunity to share their caring responsibilities.”
Jess Phillips MP, Co-Chair of the Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group, said: “Today’s report from Vodafone shows the importance of supporting carers but also the need for greater support for those juggling work with caring responsibilities, an issue that has become painstakingly apparent over the last year. As the majority of carers are women, we cannot deny this is a gendered issue. Unless action is taken by both Government and businesses, we risk losing more women from the workforce which will only heighten existing gender inequalities.”