Extended maternity benefits: Vodafone’s gift on Women’s Day

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Vodafone becomes one of the few organisations in the world, after the United Nations, to have a uniform maternity policy, worldwide.

Vodafone has decided to have a mandatory uniform maternity policy across the globe. The telecom company becomes one of the first few companies in the world to have minimum maternity policies of such kind after the United Nations.

As per the new policy, women will get 16 weeks of paid maternity leave which is a month more than the standard norm. Besides, they will also get the facility of working only 6 hours a day (30 hours a week) post return from maternity leave. On top of it, even male employees will be entitled for a one working week of paternity leave.

While in India, there has always been a maternity policy in place, this new mandatory policy will make a lot of difference in countries where countries where there is little or no legislative requirement to provide maternity support.

Generally companies across the work see women on maternity leave as a liability of the company. But a study by KPMG wipes out this prejudice. As per KPMG, the 16 weeks of paid maternity leave would cost businesses an additional $28 billion a year globally. To save this additional cost, companies prefer to replace them with new employees but to train them companies worldwide spend around $47 billion every year. So by getting the mothers back to work, companies can save around $ 19 billion.

Besides, KPMG estimates that a global return-to-work policy could save working mothers a cumulative $14 billion in childcare for their new babies and a four-day a week policy will enable mothers to spend a cumulative 608 million additional days with their newborn babies.

In an official communique, Vittorio Colao, group chief executive, Vodafone Group says, “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 per cent of Vodafone employees worldwide but only 21 per cent of its international senior leadership team. The company believes that the new maternity policy will help bridging this gap.

In India, women comprise 20 per cent of the 12,000 workforce for Vodafone. The telecom company hopes to increase the number of women workforce to at least 30 per cent of the total workforce. From just one female zonal manager in FY 2013, the company has taken the number to 17 now.

At Vodafone India, there are around 21 women employees in the DGM, GM, Head, AVP level.

On the occasion of women’s day, the company has also released a short film, Maternomics, which demonstrates the business sense for companies to offer attractive maternity benefits.

The film ‘Maternomics’. Click the play button

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