Volvo Cars will introduce a paid parental leave policy for its 40,000 plus employees in all plants and offices effective April 1.
The ‘Family Bond’ policy will give all employees with at least one year’s service, totalling 24 weeks of leave at 80 percent of their base pay by default.
The policy applies to either parent and the leave can be taken anytime within the first three years of parenthood.
In a statement, Volvo Cars president and chief executive officer Håkan Samuelsson said they wanted to create a culture that supports equal parenting for all genders.
“When parents are supported to balance the demands of work and family, it helps to close the gender gap and allows everyone to excel in their careers.
“We have always been a family-oriented and human-centric company. Through this parental leave policy, we are demonstrating and living our values, which in turn will strengthen our brand,” Samuelsson added.
Volvo Car Malaysia marketing and public relations director Akhtar Sulaiman said that this was a big step for Volvo.
“We are happy to extend the benefits of Family Bond onto our colleagues here in Malaysia.
“It is indeed empowering to be part of such a progressive-thinking organisation, to deepen our endeavours for competitive employee benefits amidst our positive culture.
“The global policy is more inclusive and supportive than many existing policies around the world and includes all legally registered parents, including adoptive, foster care and surrogate parents,” he said.
He added that some countries do not offer any paid leave to new parents, or exclude certain groups of parents particularly true for fathers.
Among the obstacles that may limit the uptake of parental leave include parents’ concerns around the potential impact it might have on their team, fear around long-term career opportunities and a cultural mindset about what is expected of fathers in the workplace and at home.
To encourage uptake, Volvo Cars has focused on communicating about its parental leave policy more effectively.
By presenting the 24 weeks parental leave as a pre-selected option, the company aims to create a ‘default effect’ – essentially, people are highly likely to stick with pre-selected options.
Ambiguous language, such as ‘up to 24 weeks, is avoided to predict negative outcomes when there is uncertainty.
By using tactics like these, Volvo Cars aim to remove confusion and cultural barriers and provide parents with certainty.
To further show its commitment to reducing the gender gap, Volvo Cars will share its participation results over time so that other companies can learn from its progress.