All female Old Mutual Kenya employees will be entitled to 120 days of maternity leave and one month of paternity leave.
In addition, employees will have extended breaks for women who experience child loss during pregnancy.
The decision was announced at the Old Mutual Women Network (OWN) event during International Women’s Day, which brought together women from across the organisation to share and connect.
OWN was created in 2016 to provide women with a forum to share, connect, and develop themselves, and it operates in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and South Sudan.
OWN’s activities are centered around six pillars: community outreach, networking, coaching and mentoring, diversity and inclusivity, care and sharing, and empowerment in business acumen.
“We recognise that the journey to motherhood is different for every woman, and they need support in each season,” said Old Mutual Group Human Capital Executive, East Africa, Nkirote Njiru.
“Our new measures are designed to create a supportive environment for all our staff and promote gender equality.”
Old Mutual also announced plans to develop a diversity, equity, inclusivity, and belonging policy to promote equity and equality across the board.
The policy, currently going through a consultation phase to define its framework, will consider factors such as age, religion, skills, and differently-abled persons to promote gender equality beyond the hiring stage.
What it Means
In the corporate world, parental leave can improve culture and increase organisational diversity.
Under Section 29 of the Constitution of Kenya, female workers are entitled to fully paid three months’ maternity leave.
Moreover, maternity leave does not remove the employee’s entitlement to annual leave under Section 28. Consequently, Section 5(3) (a) protects female employees from harassment and discrimination by the employer on the basis of being pregnant.
PwC’s Women in Work Index and the Global Empowerment Index reports show that the workplace continues to be unequal for women globally.
According to the report, “Globally, women workers identify the four most important workplace empowerment factors as being fairly compensated financially at work (72%), job fulfilment (69%), a workplace where they can truly be themselves (67%), and having a team that cares about their well-being (61%).”