EABL new mums to get 6-month maternity leave

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Workers at EABL Ruaraka plant. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Female employees of beer maker East African Breweries Limited (EABL) #ticker:EABL could get up to six months paid maternity leave in line with the British parent company Diageo’s global policy for its workers.

The policy, which offers one of the most generous packages for working parents, is expected to go live from July 1.

EABL Monday announced that it had started rolling out the enhanced benefit for both its male and female employees in the region as part of its campaign “to create a fully inclusive and diverse workforce”.

The new policy will give both mothers and fathers prolonged periods of paid parental leave, regardless of how long they have worked at the company.

“The full details of each country-specific policy, application to non-wholly owned subsidiaries, and the timing of its roll-out will be shared in due course and is subject to local legal, board and regulatory requirements,” said Diageo in a statement.

EABL, which had 1,591 employees as at end of June last year, has already announced its plans to offer similar benefits to its employees.

“The new policy offers female employees in EABL a minimum of 26 weeks of fully paid maternity leave,” EABL said in a statement to Business Daily Monday.

“EABL is also setting a global minimum standard of four weeks paternity leave on full rate of pay in all markets”.

The move is expected to give workers enough time to take care of their young families as they continue to thrive at work.

Kenya’s law currently allows a fully paid, three-month maternity leave and a two-week paternity break for fathers. Many companies frown upon these breaks, viewing them as an additional labour cost that sometimes forces them to hire temporary workers.

EABL already offers flexible working hours to lactating mothers and has also set up nursing rooms for them, just like Safaricom.

Diageo had offered a minimum four-weeks paternity leave but a significant number of its businesses such as North America, Singapore and Russia have opted to give fathers the maximum 26 weeks, just like mothers.

The generous family leave policy will help support employees to focus on the joy of raising a young family while continuing to thrive at work, according to Diageo chief human resources officer Mairéad Nayager.

“Global businesses like Diageo must make bold moves on policies and the environments in which their employees work to ensure that the progress people deserve happens,” said Ms Nayager.

Other Diageo units that have settled on 26-week fully paid maternity and paternity leave include Thailand, the Philippines, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Colombia, Venezuela and Australia.

Diageo was one of the 230 companies included in the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality, which distinguishes companies committed to transparency in gender reporting and advancing women’s equality.

Yesterday EABL Group Managing Director Andrew Cowan said “We strongly believe that businesses play a significant role in shaping the future of society.”

Last year, Diageo was also named by Thomson Reuters as the fourth most-inclusive and diverse company in the world.

Diageo’s move matches that of US communications and finance firm Bloomberg LP, which in mid-May announced that it had expanded its parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks. Bloomberg also has an office in Nairobi.