There is no denying that the maternity leave policy in the United States is lacking. In fact the U.S. is the only developed country with no guaranteed paid leave for new moms. Today, UK telecom company Vodafone announced that they would be updating their maternity leave policy to include a worldwide minimum level of maternity pay for new moms.
In a first for a multinational company, Vodafone will offer women working at all levels across their 30 operating companies in Africa, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the US at least 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave, as well as full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months after their return to work.
The move was spurred by an analysis commissioned from KPMG that showed global businesses worldwide could save $19bn a year by providing 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave.
According to Vodafone’s press release KPMG estimated that:
- recruiting and training new employees to replace women who do not stay in the workforce after having a baby costs global businesses $47 billion every year;
- offering women 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave rather than the statutory minimum would cost businesses an additional $28 billion a year; and
- if businesses were able to retain more women in the workforce after their maternity leave, they could save up to $19 billion a year and would retain the knowledge and experience of these women with positive consequences for productivity and effectiveness.
Additionally, KPMG estimated that:
- offering mothers a global return-to-work policy equivalent to a four-day week at full pay for their first six months back to work after maternity leave could save working mothers a cumulative $14 billion in childcare for their new babies; and
- a four-day week would enable mothers to spend a cumulative 608 million additional days with their newborn babies.
Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao, 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 expects to have the new policy would be in place by the end of this year. This is good news for moms. Hopefully other companies will follow suit!