In support of SwedCham Singapore’s initiative #DoubleUp, the Norwegian Business Association in Singapore (NBAS) recently shared some inspiring Norwegian examples of going above and beyond for gender equality. Because just like the Swedish retailer IKEA, which started the SwedCham initiative, some Norwegian companies have had paid paternity leave in their company policies for years.
Officially launched earlier this month, the #DoubleUp initiative aims to facilitate gender equality and encourage more inclusive corporate cultures. In practice, it challenges companies in Singapore to double their paid paternity leave from two to four weeks. Inspired by IKEA, which has offered four weeks of benefits since 2017, nine Swedish companies have now followed suit. The companies, which include H&M and AstraZeneca, will increase their paid paternity leave from January onwards.
NBAS shares the following Norwegian examples for gender equality in Singapore and beyond:
Equinor – 16 weeks irrespective of gender
Norwegian energy company Equinor has more than 21 000 employees in over 30 countries. Since January 2019, the company has offered a global paid parental leave policy of 16 weeks to all employees in Equinor and its subsidiaries. This policy applies to any parent working for Equinor, regardless of their gender. This policy supplements or exceeds local laws, to guarantee a minimum level of benefits.
DNB – 20 weeks paternity leave in Asia
DNB is Norway’s leading bank, with regional headquarters in Singapore. For all employees in Asia, which include Singapore, Shanghai, and Mumbai, they are offering 20 weeks of paid paternity leave. These benefits cannot be transferred over to the mother. Just like Equinor, the policy intends to guarantee a minimum level of paternity leave, as an addition to local laws.
“For DNB it is important to give all our employees across the world the same opportunities as we have in Norway. We do also see this gives us a competitive edge to recruit talents and retrain valuable employees of the bank”, says DNB’s head of Asia Jan Fredrik Skjeltorp.
“We thank SwedCham for their great #DoubleUp initiative and encourage other multinational companies to follow suit! There is strength in numbers – and together, we can work to impact gender norms in Scandinavia, Singapore, and beyond,” NBAS states.