Vodafone has announced policy changes to support employees further in the UK through key life stages. The new commitments, announced today, have been brought in to ensure greater support for carers and parents and include added assistance, more flexibility, and extended paid and unpaid leave.
To bolster its existing offering for employees who look after loved ones who are older, disabled or seriously ill, Vodafone’s new Carer’s Leave will offer 18 weeks’ leave per dependent adult*, the first week of which will be fully paid.
This mirrors the company’s Parental Leave Policy which offers the same benefit for those caring for a child, up to the point they turn 18, with a maximum of four weeks’ leave to be taken in any one year. With 6,000 people becoming carers in the UK every day, this type of additional support is increasingly needed.
Vodafone has also introduced free access to Legal & General’s Care Concierge Service, providing support and assistance to employees who find themselves balancing elderly caring responsibilities with employment, often in addition to other commitments.
The Care Concierge service provides one-to-one telephone support alongside tailored information and guidance to help navigate what can be a complex elderly care system for a loved one.
The new benefit includes a 30-minute telephone session with a Care Expert to help employees understand what care is needed and how to arrange it, plus guidance on typical care costs and the different ways of paying for care. Additional discounted services are also available to provide extra help with finding care or if employees would like a Care Expert to act on their behalf.
After reviewing feedback from its workforce on where it values additional support, Vodafone has also amended its existing Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Leave policies to support parents whose baby is born prematurely. The updated policies recognise that when a baby is premature, employees may want to delay the start of their leave until the baby is discharged from hospital. This is often the point at which the time away from work is most valuable so employees will now have the option to adapt their leave to suit their circumstances.
Vodafone UK employees will also see the introduction of two weeks of paid leave for expectant parents, regardless of gender, who lose a baby before the 24th week of pregnancy. Such leave is already available to those who lose a child in the later stages of pregnancy or at any time before a child’s 18th birthday. This is inclusive of whether the loss occurs to an employee or their partner.
Clare Corkish, Vodafone’s UK HR Director, said: “As an employer we are committed to helping protect and support our people and their families through important life stages. These new policy changes have been made in the belief that we can have a positive impact at a time when people are dealing with sensitive and stressful situations – and ultimately need support the most.
“Our ground-breaking Maternity Leave, Parental Leave, Domestic Violence and Abuse policy, and more recently our Global Menopause Commitment, have all been curated to best meet the needs of our employees and we expect these enhancements to make a real difference.”
Inclusion for all is integral to Vodafone’s purpose, reinforcing its ambition to be a company whose global workforce reflects the customers it serves and the broader societies within which it operates.
Vodafone’s goal is for women to hold 45% of UK management and leadership roles by 2030. To meet its ambition to be recognised as a leading employer for women, Vodafone has gender target monitoring and action plans in place. It has also developed and introduced a series of pioneering global programmes.
These include progressive flexible working policies; maternity and parental leave that supports families to share caring responsibilities in the home; ReConnect to attract people who have taken a career break back to the workplace; a commitment on menopause and a Domestic Violence and Abuse policy.