Maersk Group has announced the introduction of a new maternity policy that is aimed at increasing the retention of women employees following childbirth, thereby improving benefits during and after maternity leave for employees globally.
Under the new programme, employees will be granted a minimum of 18 weeks maternity leave and one week of paternity leave, both on full contractual pay and subject to local workforce regulations.
The new policy will come into effect from April 4 this year, and also includes a programme allowing a phased reintegration to work. The current maternity leave policy in India allows women to take 12 weeks of paid leave, although the labour ministry has recently approved a proposal to up this to 26 weeks for the private sector.
“We currently have more than 3,000 women working across our different business units in India. This new policy supports our aim to retain talented women working in the group and attract even more to gain access to future and wider talent pools and strengthen our business results,” said Geetha Sreenivasan, global finance process head, GSC.
As of February last year, Maersk Group worldwide employed more than 23,000 women. Over the last three years, approximately 500 women have gone on maternity leave each year of which only 70% rejoined or continued working with Maersk Group.
The new policy will improve terms for women working for Maersk in at least 51 countries out of the 130 in which the Group operates, compared to the statutory minimum. In the US, more than 1,200 women employed will be eligible for 18 weeks of paid leave compared to their current paid leave which is typically 6 weeks.
The new policy also includes a “Return to Work” programme which gives onshore employees the opportunity to work 20% less at full contractual pay for up to six months after returning to work. Of the women who left the company after taking maternity leave, 80% left within the first 12 months of their return. This phased return will enable women to have a smoother transition back to work and contribute to increased retention.
“The new policy will strengthen our efforts to retain talented women, while at the same time resulting in additional benefits, for example, via reduced hiring costs and productivity loss. Our aspiration is to reach a global best practice maternity retention rate of 90% over time,” said Lucien Alziari, head of group HR.
Women leaving the workforce in connection to childbirth is a global problem, and based on previous analysis conducted by KPMG for Vodafone, it costs global businesses $47 billion every year to recruit and train new employees to replace women who do not stay in the workforce after maternity leave.
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