On International Women's Day, Vodafone has offered its female staffs, maternity leave. The leave is fully paid and will be granted regardless of where in the world they work and despite the fact that some countries do not mandate it.
The UK telecom company has said that, by the end of this year, all employees 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 they return to work. The policy will apply in every one of the 30 countries in which Vodafone operates, including in Africa, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the US.
Vittorio Colao, the chief executive of Vodafone, 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." Vodafone has also released research conducted by KPMG which suggests global businesses could save up to $19bn a year should they follow the telecoms company's lead and adopt similar maternity leave policies.
This is because, although increasing the amount of maternity leave from the statutory minimum would cost $28bn, KPMG estimated that recruiting and training new staff to replace those women who decide to leave work after having a baby is costing global businesses $47bn every year.