Volvo Cars launches 24 weeks paid parental leave policy in SA
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Volvo Cars has announced that it has opted for a new all-gender paid parental leave policy in South Africa. The leave policy took effect on April 1, 2021.
The ‘Family Bond’ policy will give employees who have at least one year of service a total of 24 weeks’ leave at 80% of their base pay by default. It will apply to more than Volvo Cars’ 40 000 employees in all plants and offices across the globe.
“The policy applies to either parent, and the leave can be taken anytime within the three first years of parenthood,” it said.
Volvo Cars said the policy included all legally registered parents, including adoptive, foster care, and surrogate parents, as well as non-birth parents of same-sex couples. Some countries do not offer paid leave to new parents, or exclude certain groups of parents, particularly fathers.
Volvo Car South Africa managing director Greg Maruszewski said the company wanted to create a culture that supported equal parenting for all genders.
“When parents are supported to balance the demands of work and family, it helps to close the gender gap and allows everyone to excel in their careers. We have always been a family-oriented and human-centric company. Through the Family Bond programme, we are demonstrating and living our values, which in turn will strengthen our brand,” he said.
The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region were the first in Volvo globally to introduce the leave scheme.
“Hence, we are proud to say that the EMEA region (which includes South Africa) is leading the Volvo world in this regard.”
Maruszewski said the company is also proud to be offering its employees far more than is required by South African law.
“According to South Africa's latest parental leave laws, which were signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa and took effect from January 1, 2020, all parents (including fathers, adopting parents, and surrogates) are entitled to 10 days of unpaid parental leave when their children are born. Thanks to our Family Bond programme, parents employed at Volvo Car South Africa will not only get considerably more time off work but they will also receive compensation.”
The leave was not mandatory; Volvo wanted to create a culture where its employees felt safe and supported.
“We’re encouraging parents to take this time to bond more with their families. We truly believe this is important, and we’ll share our experience over time so that other companies can learn from our progress,” Maruszewski said.
Volvo cars head of corporate functions and HR Hanna Fager said: “We want to lead change in this industry and set a new global people standard. By opting all our employees into paid parental leave we narrow the gender gap and get a more diverse workforce, boosting performance and strengthening our business.”
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