Terry Evetts, a senior global privacy manager at Vodafone Group, felt a mixture of nerves and excitement when he decided to apply for adoption in October 2020. Over the next year, Vodafone’s global parental leave supported him throughout the adoption process, as he and his partner progressed from exploration and initial checks to training and assessment.
All Vodafone employees worldwide are offered 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave through the global policy, which is designed to support families by giving every parent the opportunity to spend more time with children new to their family.
“My manager was really supportive and gave me time off when I needed it,” said Terry. “If you're coming up to maternity leave, you have to take time off for prenatal appointments – and similarly on the adoption side, you need to be available for panel assessments over a period of six months.”
During that time, a social worker paid regular visits to Terry’s home to talk to him and his partner about why they wanted to adopt and why they thought they would make good parents.
When their two children eventually moved in with Terry and his partner, he took two months off work through Vodafone’s policy. "It's been mad ever since!” Terry laughs. “It's been a bit of a whirlwind with all the sleepless nights and dealing with nappies and trying to baby proof the house.”
Vodafone provides any employee whose partner is having a baby, adopts a child or becomes a parent through surrogacy the flexibility to take up to 16 weeks paid leave at any time during the first 18 months. Employees also benefit from “keeping in touch” days and can phase their return from parental leave by working the equivalent of a 30-hour week at full pay for a further six months.
“It’s been quite a journey, and Vodafone has been really supportive,” he says. “The parental leave policy is just amazing, especially as adopters, because it's given us that time to support the kids and each other when we’re all getting settled.”
Since the end of March 2021, Vodafone’s global parental leave has been available to all non-birthing parents – regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or length of service – across Vodafone’s 24 markets and operations in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the US.
Vodafone’s shared parental leave is making a significant difference to thousands of people, particularly in countries where there is little or no legal requirement to give equal support for both parents. It’s just one of the ways in which Vodafone has committed to promoting diversity and inclusion across our organisation.
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