Telenor Group has adopted a six-month paid parental leave policy as a minimum standard globally.
The new policy will particularly benefit Telenor’s Asian markets. HR manager Jon Erik Haug called it «an epoch-making decision»:
«In Europe we have generous parental leave benefits already, but for Asia this is an epoch-making decision. They’re used to only two months of paid parental leave», he said.
The current practices in Europa will be continued.
«May be what it takes» to prevent women from quitting
Caroline Yin Yin Htay is head of accounting in Telenor Myanmar and is responsible for 24 employees. 80 percent of them are women in their twenties or thirties.
«I just lost two employees because they had children and couldn’t come back to work after just two months. To get six months paid leave may be what it takes for them to continue», she said.
Htay has worked abroad for 15 years. She and her husband have talked about having children several times, but with only two months of paid leave, it has been out of the question for them. Now they can finally start planning.
«I’ve invested too much in my education and career to quit. With six months leave I have the opportunity to countinue working and have children too», she said.
2.3 million dollars — «a small investment»
Telenor are going to spend 2.3 million dollars to implement the new policy, which will take effect from January 1st 2016.
«We see that many well qualified women leave the company when they have children. We lose competence, we lose diversity, and skilled women lose their independence and ability to self-evolve. We want to change that», Haug said.
The measure is also part of Telenor's goal of increasingthe number of female managers. By 2020 the company wants to have women in 30 percent of their senior management positions. Today only 19 percent of Telenor’s top leaders are women.
«We think we’ll become a better company if we get to keep our female employees. If we succeed, 2.3 million dollars is a small investment», Haug said and added:
«At the same time we hope we will be even more attractive on the job market in Asia. We want young women to choose us – not only because of our parental leave benefits – but because it shows that we care about our employees.»
Telenor is one of the world’s largest telecom companies, with 33,000 employees and operations in Scandinavia, Eastern Europa and Asia.
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