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Vodafone pioneers global maternity policy across 30 countries

6 Mar 2015Empowering People
4 minute read
  • Vodafone to become one of the first organisations in the world to define a mandatory minimum maternity benefits standard
  • KPMG analysis reveals up to $19 billion annual boost to businesses worldwide through maternity leave

Vodafone announced today that it will become one of the first organisations in the world to introduce a mandatory minimum global maternity policy. By the end of 2015, women working at all levels across Vodafone’s 30 operating companies in Africa, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the US will be offered at least 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave, as well as full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months after their return to work.


Other than the United Nations, very few global organisations - and even fewer multinational corporations - have adopted minimum maternity policies of this kind. While a number of Vodafone subsidiaries already offer substantial maternity care terms which will continue as before, the new mandatory minimum global maternity policy will make a significant difference to the lives of thousands of Vodafone women employees in countries where there is little or no legislative requirement to provide maternity support.

Vodafone also announced today the outcome of analysis commissioned from KPMG* which indicates that global businesses could save up to an estimated $19 billion annually through the provision of 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave. KPMG estimated that:

  • recruiting and training new employees to replace women who do not stay in the workforce after having a baby costs global businesses $47 billion every year;
  • offering women 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave rather than the statutory minimum would cost businesses an additional $28 billion a year; and
  • if businesses were able to retain more women in the workforce after their maternity leave, they could save up to $19 billion a year and would retain the knowledge and experience of these women with positive consequences for productivity and effectiveness.

Additionally, KPMG estimated that:

  • offering mothers a global return-to-work policy equivalent to a four-day week at full pay for their first six months back to work after maternity leave could save working mothers a cumulative $14 billion in childcare for their new babies; and
  • a four-day week would enable mothers to spend a cumulative 608 million additional days with their newborn babies.

Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao, said: "Too many talented women leave working life because they face a difficult choice between either caring for a newborn baby or maintaining their careers. Our new mandatory minimum global maternity policy will support over 1,000 Vodafone women employees every year in countries with little or no statutory maternity care."

"Women account for 35% of our employees worldwide but only 21% of our international senior leadership team. We believe our new maternity policy will play an important role in helping to bridge that gap. Supporting working mothers at all levels of our organisation will ultimately result in better decisions, a better culture and a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs."


For further information:

Vodafone Group Media Relations:

Note to editors

'Maternomics', a short film which shows it makes business sense for companies to offer attractive maternity benefits, can be viewed here:

*The estimated costs and savings are based on females with at least intermediate-level education, employed in non-agriculture sectors, going on paid maternity leave for 16 weeks rather than statutory paid maternity leave. The analysis is based on publicly available labour market and family statistics from a range of sources, including from the International Labour Organisation, Euromonitor and OECD family database, and on internal Vodafone workforce data where wider market statistics were unavailable.

The analysis in this document was produced with assistance from KPMG LLP (“KPMG”).

KPMG's work for Vodafone was designed to meet Vodafone's specific requirements and pursuant to terms agreed between the two parties. Any reader of this document who uses or relies on anything attributed to KPMG or derived from KPMG's work for Vodafone will do so at their own risk. KPMG's duties are owed to Vodafone alone. Any policy recommendations expressed in this document are those of Vodafone.

About Vodafone

Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 54 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 31 December 2014, Vodafone had 444 million mobile customers and 11.8 million fixed broadband customers. For more information, please visit:

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