With Vodafone introducing a worldwide maternity policy with significantly better terms for the expectant and new mothers, the company has increased the size of curve on the faces of women who otherwise refrained to discuss maternity upfront.
The company has plans to provide a minimum of 16 weeks fully-paid maternity leave in addition to the 30-hour week of full pay for the first six months to the new mothers returning to work after their delivery.
Although the policy had a strategic backing of saving company's revenue which it alternately would have spent on hiring, training and managing business disruption when the expectant female employee leaves the company, however, the positive impact that it will create is far more lasting than the motive that the company beholds.
The new policy appears to be a global “first of its kind” package. It is likely to be implemented by the end of 2015 in all the countries where Vodafone operates.
Joe Wiggins from the employer review website, Glassdoor states, “People are often scared to ask about maternity benefits. Vodafone being upfront about this will give people peace of mind. It's rare for companies to talk about maternity benefits in an open way."
This is also learnt that the cost of a more generous maternity provision far outweighs the cost of replacing women leaving the workforce for Vodafone. Currently, the company spends around $47 billion every year to recruit and train new employees to replace women who leave the workforce.
While on the other hand, if the company offers women 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, it will cost only $28 billion.
The policy of offering reduced working hours for women returning to work after having a baby is based on the company's practice in Italy. The minimum 16 week paid maternity leave will mark an improvement in company's maternity provision in ten of the 30 countries where it operates.
If compared internationally, then currently, Bulgaria provides 410 days of mandatory paid maternity leave to the expecting mothers, which is highest worldwide. UK is next in the line with 273 days of paid mandatory maternity leave. While India provides only 84 days of leave, US provides none.
"There are a lot of hidden costs when you lose women to maternity: retraining, recruiting, business disruption," says Sharon Doherty, the group's Organization and People Development Director, who developed the policy.
"You have to look at the total picture, not just obvious upfront costs."
The company describes its policy as “pioneering” as there are very few companies worldwide which provide such policies. It believes that it will prove to be as one main motivation to recruit and retain women.