A new maternity policy introduced by the Maersk Group has been applauded by its employees in Nigeria. The policy, which becomes effective from 4 April 2016, improves benefits during and after maternity leave for Maersk Group employees globally. It aims to increase the retention of women following childbirth or adoption.
The new maternity policy includes a programme allowing a phased reintegration to work for all onshore employees and a global guaranteed minimum of 18 weeks maternity leave on full pay for all employees, subject to local workforce regulations.
Besides the 18 weeks maternity leave, the new policy also includes a Return To Work programme which gives onshore employees the opportunity to work 20% less hours at full contractual pay within the first year of childbirth or adoption for up to six months after returning to work. It also includes one week of paternity leave.
Head, Human Resources of Maersk Nigeria Limited and Central West Africa Cluster, Adaugo Onyeri, said the success of the Maersk Group, which is built on strong cultural heritage and values, sustained through innovative thinking, and prided for the level of trust it has earned throughout the years, was made possible by its employees.
“The new maternity policy is about improved benefits to our people. It was informed by the need to attract and retain more female talents thereby supporting our diversity and inclusion objectives.
Onyeri said that 35% of Maersk Nigeria employees are females while 78% of the employees are married, thus the new policy delivers value for a significant portion of the workforce.
According to her, “Our research tells us that managing work and family is often a derailer for women having successful careers – before, during and after maternity leave”.
She said the phased Return To Work programme will enable women to have a smoother transition back to work and contribute to increased retention. This she believes would drive employee engagement higher, impacting positively on productivity at the workplace. Ultimately, the new policy will encourage females to pursue their careers, while handling the challenges of family life.
The Chief Financial Officer of Maersk Nigeria and Central West Africa Cluster, Nancy Umole said, “Being my eleventh year in Maersk, I think this is a great initiative. It is one of the many initiatives that makes Maersk a choice employer as it will assist women in achieving work-life balance and excel in their careers. The phased Return To Work programme is also a tremendous added benefit that allows refocusing on career while still having time for your baby.”
A Finance Business Partner of Maersk Nigeria Limited, Paul Urubusi responding on the policy, said, “The paternity leave is an added perk for me as an employee. It will allow me provide the much needed support for my wife after childbirth without impact on my work.”
The new maternity policy will improve terms for women working for Maersk Group in at least 51 countries out of the 130 in which the Group operates compared to the statutory minimum.
Globally, of the women who left the Maersk Group after taking maternity leave, 80% left within the first 12 months of their return.
Women leaving the workforce in connection to childbirth is a global problem, and based on previous analysis conducted by a consultancy firm KPMG, 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.
One of Maersk Nigeria Limited’s offerings on its Employee Value Proposition is its investment in people. Over the years, the company has focused on talent development through various initiatives, such as the Africa Leadership Development Programme, which is an MBA-style programme in partnership with the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa – one of the topmost Business Schools in Africa.
11 Nigerians have so far graduated from the programme since inception in 2012, taking on higher Leadership roles.
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