Nine Swedish multinational companies in Singapore, including pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and clothing retailer H&M, have pledged to double their paid paternity leave benefits from two to four weeks starting next year, according to a joint pledge announced on 9 December by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce Singapore (SwedCham).
The #DoubleUp pledge is a step towards gender equality and creating a corporate culture that encourages fathers to be there for their babies, Swedcham said. This comes as part of the launch of the collection “#candid: 100 Perspectives on Gender Equality in Singapore”, which features testimonies by men from all walks of life on why gender equality is important.
Moreover, the Chamber stated that, inspired by IKEA who took the first steps to offer twice the amount of Singapore’s two-week paternity leave in 2017, the nine multinational corporations – ABB, AstraZeneca, Atlas Copco, Bolon x The Andrews Group, Electrolux, H&M, Mentor Media, Oriflame, and SKF – have decided to introduce a change to their current benefits package in Singapore.
In 2022, fathers who work in these companies will be able to spend twice as much time with their newborns and partners as they will have four weeks of paid paternity leave.
“At H&M, we have clear goals and strategies set in all our markets with gender equality as one of our key priorities. By being part of this pledge to #DoubleUp on paternity leave in Singapore, we hope to also encourage more businesses to take gender equality seriously. A collective effort is needed to change mindsets,” says Oldouz Mirzaie, CEO & Regional Manager of H&M South Asia.
“The pandemic has seen gender roles at home evolve, and with more people embracing these changes, it is time for companies to take another step forward by encouraging fathers to take a more active role during the early months of a child’s life,” says Vinod Narayanan, Country President of AstraZeneca Singapore.
Further, the EVP and Head of Electrolux APAC & MEA, Adam Cich, comments: “The the current disparity between paid paternity and maternity leave indicates an expectation that women should continue to shoulder most of the caregiving duties. By increasing paternity leave our aim is not only to empower fathers to contribute more at home but also to highlight the important role of the business community to intentionally build corporate cultures that promote gender equality”.
To act on the numerous studies demonstrating the positive impact of championing gender diversity at the workplace and recognizing that the business community has a crucial role to play to make gender equality a reality, the companies that have signed the pledge to #DoubleUp paid paternity leave and are inviting other firms to join in.
The group urges businesses to take paternity leave seriously and encourages men to participate actively in caregiving roles allowing women a more equal footing in the workplace.
Championed by SwedCham, conceptualized by creative agency Dilucidar, and supported by 20 partners and sponsors including IKEA, H&M, ABB, Electrolux, Atlas Copco, the Swedish Embassy in Singapore, and Business Sweden, “#candid: 100 Perspectives on Gender Equality in Singapore” features personal stories and reflections from men from all walks of life – the stay at home dad, the CEO, the entrepreneur, and the civil servant – all seem to say the same thing; gender equality is key to a harmonious family, a prosperous business and a thriving society.
“We were inspired by the activities Singapore launched this year with regards to gender equality and wanted to contribute to The Year of Celebrating SG Women. With the book and pledge, we want to show that we are supporting the efforts to move the needle in Singapore even further towards a more equal and sustainable society,” says Lisa Ferraton, General Manager of SwedCham Singapore.
With #candid, SwedCham hopes to inspire real change, contribute to shifting mindsets in the workplace, and broaden the conversation around the topic of gender equality. As one of the most significant issues faced by society today, the topic signals that opportunities exist for businesses and individuals alike to advocate for a more inclusive future.
SwedCham welcomes organizations that wish to join the #DoubleUp pledge to indicate their interest via 100perspectives.com