Striving for a work-life balance is hard. Add parenthood to the mix, and attaining that balance can get even more challenging.
According to a 2012 Booz & Company report, India generates about 14% of the global talent pool, among which there are around 5.5 million women entering the workforce each year. 45% of them believe that they are treated unfairly at work because of their gender and struggle to re-join the workforce post they become mothers.
Mr B P Biddappa, HUL’s Executive Director, Human Resources says
"Watching our children grow every day is probably one of the best experiences of our lives. Our family is pivotal to our lives and the strongest anchor for all of us. I believe that both parents should play equally strong and supportive roles in raising their children and enabling a favourable environment where both parents and children grow and prosper."
At Hindustan Unilever Limited, we aim to make parents – both new and current – maintain a work-life balance that is encouraging of their personal and professional roles.
The Unilever global maternity and paternity support platform (MAPS) helps guide parents and line managers to ensure there’s a positive transition into parenthood.
In line with the Unilever Global Maternal Wellbeing Standard, we assist new parents by enabling them to nurse their baby and women returners to have the flexibility that is required to effectively juggle their careers and children.
Initiatives that support parents & new parents
1. Paid Maternity leave of 26 weeks
All our female employees have a fully paid maternity leave with benefits of 26 weeks. Out of this, eight weeks can even be taken before delivery – as per the requirements of the mother. This leave can be availed twice in the employees’ career.
2. Paid Paternity leave increased to three weeks
All employees becoming fathers are provided with 3 weeks of fully paid leave that is available within 1 year of becoming a father. This leave can be availed twice in the employees’ career and, we are making this change effective July 1 2018. Prior to this, 2 weeks of leave, could be taken within 6 months of becoming a father.
3. Leave for Adoptive Parents and Commissioning mothers
Maternity and Paternity leave with full pay and benefits are also extended to parents who are legally adopting a child. Maternity leave with full pay and benefits is also extended to commissioning mothers.
4. Maternity Transition Policy
This policy ensures there is a smooth transition to and from maternity, thereby providing clarity on the role and performance of returning mothers. The existing role is held back for the new mother in as many cases as possible when she goes on maternity leave so that she can transition back into her role, once she is back from her leave.
5. Flexible ways of working to suit a family’s needs
Our Flexi Work Hours policy provides a variety of options to parents. Along with their line managers, employees can decide upon a ‘time span’ for their work hours, to help them maintain a good balance between work and life.
6. Daycare services to take the stress out of childcare
We also have day care facilities in our offices in Mumbai and Bangalore. At our Mumbai HQ, our day-care centre takes care of our employees’ children aged between 6 months – 6 years, while they are at work. It is managed by Klay, and the centre operates on the system of an integrated playschool and enriching activities.
Mr B P Biddappa says, "At HUL, we have policies and workplace facilities that enable a nurturing environment for everyone. We support and encourage our employees not only to be great business leaders but to also lead happy and fulfilling families."