Starting a family doesn’t have to be career suicide. Check out these 5 top companies offering their employees the best maternity leave policies.
Photo credit: nappy
In this era, having a career and a family as a woman is doable. Gone are the days when you have to start looking for a job as soon as you give birth because your job is on the rocks. Sadly, when looking for a job, most women fail to ask their employers about the maternity leave policy for the company.
In Kenya, the law requires employers to give their employees at least three months of fully paid maternity leave. Thankfully, there are some companies, which recognize that three months is not enough time for the mother and baby. Most mothers are forced to go back to work and are faced with challenges like:
Lack of lactation rooms
Mothers are forced to introduce food and other milk supplements when the baby is too young
Forcing babies to start bottle feeding
Fear of losing the job if they request for leave extension
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been very clear in its support for favorable maternity leave policies. WHO urges employers to help mothers transition back into the workplace environment after giving birth by giving them comfortable leave packages. Here are five companies that have gone above and beyond to make new mums comfortable:
1. Buy-Now-Pay-Later Company (BNPL)
Lipa Later is an East African-based company. It offers new mothers working at the company 6-months of paid maternity leave starting 1st April 2022. Its CEO, Eric Muli, announced this new maternity policy on International Women’s Day 2022. The Company is trying to create a more gender-balanced and inclusive workplace. Lipa Later currency operates in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Rwanda.
2. East African Breweries Limited (EABL)
On 28th May 2019, EABL announced its decision to offer six months of paid maternity leave for its employees effective July 2019. Mothers enjoy at least 26 weeks of paid maternity leave. Furthermore, the policy offers flexible working hours and nursing rooms within the workplace for lactating mothers. This bold move will help mothers balance their work and personal lives and boost productivity at work.
3. Safaricom Limited
When it comes to promoting inclusivity, Safaricom Limited is one of the leading companies succeeding at this. It offers new mothers four months of paid maternity leave. This is a month longer than the statutory three-month leave. Plus, when the leave period ends, new mums get to have flexible working hours for six months. Parents are allowed to bring their children to work, which means that they can still keep an eye on their children. The Safaricom Limited facilities offer teachers and caretakers who entertain and guide children as their parents meet deadlines and increase their productivity in the office. This sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
4. Microsoft East Africa
Microsoft Is considered one of the leading employers in Africa. Its staff based in East Africa enjoy a fully paid maternity leave that lasts up to 20 weeks. The company is hopeful that the maternity leave package will give mothers more time to bond with their babies and offer them the best care during their early stages of life. The thing that stands out most about this maternity policy is that it includes mothers who have adopted their kids. The company recognizes that mothers who have opted to adopt their children still go through the same challenges as those who give birth.
5. Nestle Kenya
Nestle is at the forefront of supporting women's empowerment. When celebrating International Women's Day in 2018, Nestle signed the United Nations Women Empowerment Principles. These principles showed the company's commitment to promoting gender equality in the workplace. Sure enough, a year later, the Company offered mothers at least 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. This maternity leave policy is the company's way of promoting non-discrimination and inclusion. Additionally, this new maternity policy includes:
The protection of employment
Flexible working options after maternity leave lapses
Breastfeeding support in the workplace.
Juggling your work and personal life is hard enough when you don’t have a child in the picture. Imagine how tough it can get when you do? Transitioning back to the workplace is tough on the mental, physical, and emotional life of the new mum. Most companies have very unrealistic expectations when it comes to new mums. So, make sure you are aware of the maternity leave policies for your company beforehand.
Think about negotiating favorable maternity leave terms in your employment contract. These terms will help you get a comfortable transition back to the workplace after you give birth. Since most companies frown upon taking extended breaks and will replace their employees at the slightest provocation. Also, make sure you inform your employer early enough to help them prepare for their maternity leave obligations.