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Maersk Group, Infosys, Starbucks announce new flexible working policies

Aiming to increase retention of employees by offering a wider range of flexible working policies and maternity schemes seems to have become a trend among corporations worldwide.

Following Facebook's extension of its four months’ paid paternity leave to global staff, the Maersk Group has also announced improved maternity benefits worldwide.

"To increase the retention of women following childbirth or adoption, the Maersk Group is from 4 April 2016 implementing a new maternity policy that improves benefits during and after maternity leave for employees globally," a press release from Maersk stated.

The new policy includes a programme allowing a phased reintegration to work for all onshore employees and a global guaranteed minimum of 18 weeks maternity leave on full pay for all employees, subject to local workforce regulations.

“This new policy supports our aim to retain the talented women working in the Group and attract even more to gain access to future and wider talent pools and strengthen our business results,” said Lucien Alziari, head of Group HR.

The new policy will improve terms for women working for Maersk in at least 51 countries out of the 130 in which the Group operates compared to the statutory minimum.

In the US, more than 1,200 women employed will be eligible for 18 weeks of paid leave compared to their current paid leave which is typically six weeks. In India, the typical 12 weeks of paid maternity leave will now be 18 weeks.

Besides the 18 weeks maternity leave, the new policy also includes a Return To Work programme which gives onshore employees the opportunity to work 20% less hours at full contractual pay within the first year of childbirth or adoption for up to six months after returning to work.

ALSO READ: Tech giants woo new mothers through enhanced maternity leave policies

The phased return will enable women to have a smoother transition back to work and contribute to increased retention.

“When implemented, the new policy will strengthen our efforts to retain talented women, while at the same time result in additional benefits to the Group for example via reduced hiring costs and productivity loss. Our aspiration is to reach a global best practice maternity retention rate of 90% over time,” said Alziari.

In a similar vein, Starbucks China has also recently introduced the Career Coffee Break, a partner (employee) benefit tradition from the U.S., to recognise, appreciate and honor the hard work put in by long serving partners.

Starting this month, Starbucks partners within our company-operated store with 10 consecutive years of service will be eligible to apply for a career coffee break, of up to 12 months unpaid leave, to refresh themselves and more importantly, spend quality time with their loved ones and family.

The partner will be guaranteed reinstatement to either the same position or a position with similar pay and benefits upon their return to work. The partner’s social and company benefits will also continue during the career coffee break.

“These and other industry-leading partner investments demonstrate our continued commitment to support our China partners to achieve their personal and professional aspirations,” said Belinda Wong, president, Starbucks China.

“Families play a tremendous role in the life and career choices for our partners in China and it’s important that we include their families in the conversation of who we are as a company and the investments we’re making toward supporting our partners’ future.”

READ MORE: China is the best country in the world for flexible working

In an effort to remain attractive to its employees, arrest attrition and drive productivity, Infosys has also made changes to its flexible working schemes, as reported by The Hindu.

India's second largest software exporter now allows its employees five extra days in a month, to ‘work from home'.

"With this, employees can work 9 days in a month from their home, compared to 4 in the past. Infosys HR sent an internal email to all employees a few days ago," the article stated.

It added this policy will "go a long way in enhancing employee productivity as well as maintain a better work-life balance”.

Image: Shutterstock

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