To increase the retention of women following childbirth or adoption, the Maersk Group is from 4 April 2016 implementing a new maternity policy that improves benefits during and after maternity leave for employees globally.
The new 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.
“In research conducted for us by KPMG evidence suggests that maternity leave policies have an influence on the labour market participation by contributing to higher employment rates of women. This new policy supports our aim to retain the talented women working in the Group and attract even more to gain access to future and wider talent pools and strengthen our business results,” says Lucien Alziari, Head of Group HR.
Across the Maersk Group a study of women’s retention after childbirth in 76 countries shows that between 2012 and 2014 the maternity retention rate was less than 70%. As of February 2015, the Maersk Group had more than 23,000 women employed, and over the last three years an average of approximately 500 women have gone on maternity leave each year across the 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. In India the typical 12 weeks of paid maternity leave will now be 18 weeks.
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. Of the women who left the Group after taking maternity leave, 80% left within the first 12 months of their return. The phased return will enable women to have a smoother transition back to work and contribute to increased retention.
“When implemented, the new policy will strengthen our efforts to retain talented women, while at the same time result in additional benefits to the Group 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,” says Lucien Alziari.
The 18 weeks are optimal for the Maersk Group from a cost/benefit perspective as well as for the employees as this is in line with the latest recommendations from International Labour Organisation on maternity benefits.
Women leaving the workforce in connection to childbirth is a global problem, and based on previous analysis conducted by consultancy KPMG, it costs global businesses $47 billion every year – according to analysis conducted by KPMG for Vodafone – to recruit and train new employees to replace women who do not stay in the workforce after maternity leave.
The new policy also includes one week of paternity leave and depending on local laws, the Maersk Group’s new policy may provide some paid leave for the primary caregiver to the new child either male or female.