A global company’s new corporate policy
could be the breakthrough working mothers have been looking for.
Last week, Vodafone Group issued a press
release announcing plans to implement a new maternity-leave minimum. Under the
policy, each of its 30 companies must provide a minimum of 16 weeks of paid
maternity leave for female employees by the end of 2015. The new policy will
take effect on April 1, though hopefully that date doesn’t undermine the company's seriousness in tackling a major gender equity issue.
More benefits await full-time Vodafone Group employees
after their maternity leaves end, too. New mothers returning to work can continue to
earn their full salaries while working just 30 hours per week. These policies are a win-win for Vodafone in
terms of employee retention and recruitment. The Washington Post reports that Vodafone director Sharon Doherty
designed the policy after noting that female-friendly measures in Italy,
Portugal, and Romania translated into higher retention rates for women. Now,
those measures will be implemented at Vodafone companies globally.
Of course, Vodafone only has 500 employees
(out of 90,000 total worldwide) who are based in the United States — so it's not like this policy is improving the lives of millions. But, perhaps it will inspire other American companies to follow suit. (Washington Post)