Washington Post

AN UNUSUAL NEW POLICY FOR WORKING MOTHERS

by Jena McGregor / March 6, 2015

On Friday, global telecommunications company Vodafone Group said it would be setting a global minimum for its maternity leave policy, requiring that, by the end of 2015, all of its 30 operating companies around the globe offer at least 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. That in itself was an unusual move, yet the most interesting detail in the announcement may be the company’s new policy that kicks in once the leave is over.

“We think it’s unique in its nature,” said Chuck Pol, president of Vodafone Americas. “It gives us an advantage when we’re working with female employees, not only in our business today but as we recruit people.”

He may be right about it being a first. Anne Weisberg, senior vice president at the nonprofit Families and Work Institute, called it “very unusual” and “the first of its kind.” Weisberg said the policy could help the company retain women during the critical first year following maternity leave, when many struggle to balance the demands of work and a baby on what is almost always very little sleep. “What Vodafone is doing is saying this is a talent management issue for us, it’s not just about complying with legal requirements,” she said.

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