Finally, some good news for working mamas! Last week, telecom giant Vodafone Group made headlines (and won over working families everywhere) when it announced a new-and-improved maternity leave policy. According to an article in the Washington Post, by the end of this year, all 30 of its companies around the world will give new moms a minimum of 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. (No word on whether dads will be afforded beefed-up paternity leave.) Then, for the first six months back at the office, women can work 30 hours a week while still drawing their full-time pay.
Pretty revolutionary, right? Of course, Vodafone isn't doing this out of the kindness of its heart. Coming up with a maternity leave policy that actually works with women will help its bottom line. Not only is it attractive to potential employees, it can also helps the company hang on to current hires. After all, some 65 percent of the new moms who left their Vodafone jobs post-baby did so within their first year back, the Washington Post reports.
Still, this is a gigantic step in the right direction. Working 40-plus hours a week is tough, and raising a child is tough. Doing both can feel like a Herculean task sometimes. Thanks to our country's pitiful paid leave policy, there are stories every week about moms who do whatever it takes to juggle the demands of a new baby without skipping a beat at work. (Heck, even Michelle Obama had to bring her infant daughter to a job interview.) So until our policy makers reach a consensus to #LeadOnLeave, we have to rely on the flexibility and generosity of our employers. I can only hope more of them take their cue from Vodafone and make the transition back to work a little easier for new parents.
Now it's your turn: Was your employer flexible when it came to your maternity leave? How was your transition back to work?
Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+
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Image of working mom with baby courtesy of Shutterstock