JOHANNESBURG – Mobile communications company Vodacom Group announced on Tuesday that all its employees, regardless of their gender and sexual orientation, would be offered 16 weeks (four months) of fully paid parental leave.
The company said in a statement that this meant that any employee whose partner was having a baby, adopted a child or became a parent through surrogacy would have the flexibility to take up to 16 weeks paid leave at any time during the first 18 months.
“The move is derived from Vodacom’s new leave policy, which is designed to support families by giving every parent the opportunity to have more time with children new to their family.
“Under the new leave policy, employees will also be able to phase their return from parental leave by working the equivalent of a 30-hour week at full pay for a further two months,” the mobile communications company said.
Chief human resources officer for Vodacom Group Matimba Mbungela said as a company with strong local roots, diversity and inclusion were core to the company’s beliefs and purpose.
“We are proud to support all families by giving every parent the opportunity to have more time with their children, without worrying about the impact on their finances or careers.
“The new parental leave policy further underlines our strong commitment to diversity and gender equality and will make a significant difference to thousands of Vodacom employees, particularly in markets where there is little or no legal requirement to give equal support for both parents.”
In March 2015, Vodacom pioneered a maternity policy, offering women across all its markets and operations six months fully paid maternity leave and a 30-hour week at full pay for the first six months after their return to work.
Vodacom launched the ReConnect programme in 2017 to attract talented women who have left the workplace for several years – often to raise a family – who want to return to work but are struggling to make the professional connections needed or refresh the skills required.