Telecoms giant Vodafone introduces equal parental leave and commissions key research to mark the launch
New dads at Vodafone can take 16 weeks of paid parental leave from today. The telecoms giant becomes the latest firm to equalise its parental leave policy.
The company commissioned landmark research into those with caring responsibilities to mark the launch of the new policy. The work, by WPI Strategy, found one in 10 women cited childcare responsibilities as the reason they left a previous job. Four per cent of men said childcare was the main reason they’d left a post.
The report says that more and more people are going to have to juggle work with caring responsibilities as the population ages.
However, the report highlights the benefits of flexible working practices seen during the coronavirus crisis and suggests these should, where feasible, continue post pandemic. It also notes the importance of digital technology, with 92 per cent of respondents saying it would be harder to balance work and caring responsibilities without access to technology.
The report suggests the Government and employers must work together to ensure those with unpaid caring responsibilities can continue to work if they wish to. It recommends businesses provide the right digital technology and connectivity, are transparent about care and parental leave policies during the recruitment process and, if possible, embrace flexible working to retain talent.
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.
“I’m delighted that our new Global Parental Leave policy comes into force today, giving parents more opportunity to share their caring responsibilities.”
Charlotte Woodworth, Gender Equality Campaigns’ Director at Business in the Community said, “Although BITC research has found men and women want to share caring for their families, most employers still offer extremely lopsided support based on the gender of the person who wants to take time out to care. This uneven approach not only limits men’s ability to care, it holds women back at work and undermines gender equality more generally. It’s great to see another employer joining those who have adopted a more modern approach, more in line with 21st century families’ attitudes.”
Vodafone’s new Global Parental Leave Policy comes into effect today and offers employees – regardless of gender, sexual orientation or length of service – 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave. Any employee whose partner is having a baby, becomes a parent through surrogacy, or who adopts a child will have the flexibility to take up to 16 weeks paid leave at any time during the child’s first 18 months. The policy will enable non-birthing parents in particular to take a more equal role in caring responsibilities in the early days of becoming a parent.