Women workers in Vodafone Ghana and in other countries are to benefit from additional weeks of fully-paid maternity leave as part of a new global maternity policy by the company.
A statement issued by Vodafone Ghana and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said the move makes the telecom company one of the first organisations in the world to introduce a mandatory minimum global maternity policy.
It said by the end of 2015, women working at all levels across Vodafone’s 30 operating companies in Africa, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the US would be offered 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.
“While a number of Vodafone subsidiaries already offer substantial maternity care terms which will continue as before, the new mandatory minimum policy will make a significant difference to the lives of thousands of Vodafone women employees in countries where there is little or no legislative requirement to provide maternity support,” it said.
Haris Broumidis, Chief Executive of Vodafone Ghana, expressed joy over the new policy which would empower its women population.
“We believe this is a step in the right direction for them to balance their working life with caring for their little ones. There’s no doubt that 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,” he said.
The Vodafone Group has also announced the outcome of analysis commissioned from Global Accounting firm KPMG which shows that global businesses could save up to an estimated $19 billion annually through the provision of 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave.
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 US$47 billion every year.
The statementt said offering women 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave rather than the statutory minimum weeks would cost businesses an additional $28 billion a year.
It said if businesses were able to retain more women in the workforce after their maternity leave, they could save up to US$19 billion a year and would retain the knowledge and experience of these women with positive consequences for productivity and effectiveness.