Vodafone has became one of the first companies in the world to offer all female staff at least four months’ maternity leave, whatever the local legal requirements.
The telecoms giant said yesterday that by the end of this year, the 31,900 women it employs across 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US will be offered at least 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave, as well as receiving full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months after their return to work.
The move will particularly affect some 1,000 female employees at Vodafone who live in countries that pay little or no statutory maternity care.
Even in the UK, where Vodafone employs more than 8,000 people, legal requirements only demand firms pay staff 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of maternity leave, followed by a maximum £138.18 weekly payment for the next 33 weeks.
Vodafone claimed the United Nations was one of very few organisations to already offer women the kind of pay deal it is now providing, but said its move was backed by KPMG research showing international firms could save up to $19bn (£1b3n) a year by paying for 16 weeks’ of maternity leave. It joins the likes of Yahoo in offering extended maternity options.
The research found recruiting and training new staff to replace women who do not stay in the workforce after having a baby costs companies $47bn every year, while offering women 16 weeks’ paid maternity leave would only cost an extra $28bn.
Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s chief executive and a father of two, 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.”Reuse content