Based on the success of its programme in NZ, Vodaphone Group has announced a new global domestic violence leave policy
Vodafone has become one of the “world’s leading companies” in its work to prevent domestic violence, according to domestic violence and abuse expert, Dr Jane Pillinger.
Dr Pillinger added that Vodafone’s commitments to recognize the impact domestic violence has at work, to respond with support and up to 10 days paid leave for affected employees, and to provide training for managers, are a “major step forward”.
Indeed, Vodafone Group will be implementing a new programme for victims of domestic violence and abuse in 25 countries, based on a policy developed by Vodafone New Zealand in 2017.
The announcement means that employees globally will now have access to support and specialist counselling, as well as up to 10 days additional paid leave in all markets.
Vodafone CEO Jason Paris added that so far employees have accessed the NZ programme eight times, and is proud that this important support system has now been shared with workers around the world.
“This is another example of the many innovative ways Vodafone NZ is contributing to our Vodafone Group commitment to be the employer of choice for women by 2025,” said Paris.
“When you think of the potential global impact across our operating group for victims of domestic violence of a programme originated here in New Zealand, that’s both inspiring and humbling.”
New Zealand has some of the worst domestic violence statistics in the OECD, and Vodafone believes it has a role to play in turning that around, according to the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Manager Max Riley.
“That’s why we developed this policy, which goes further than the subsequent legislation that now exists, and is now being recognised as an example of global best practice,” said Riley.
The extra 10 days of ‘safe leave’ gives employees who have faced abuse time to manage their situation without worrying about financial consequences.
Employees may use the leave to seek help and counselling, attend police or court appointments, and make arrangements to move house and their children.
As part of the programme, specialist training is provided to HR managers to help them support employees experiencing domestic violence or abuse.
A Vodafone employee who has accessed the leave and resources of the policy has described it as Vodafone “wrapping its arms around me”.
The employee is certain that without the support – and in particular the time off – it would have become too much for her to cope with, and that she would have ultimately ended up losing or leaving her job.
The domestic violence policy is one of many initiatives Vodafone has undertaken to support women in the workplace.
In 2015, Vodafone implemented a Phased Return option for employees returning to work after taking extended parental leave. This means employees can work a reduced 30-hour week and still receive pay for a full week’s work for the first six months.
Moreover, the Global Maternity Policy provides an inclusive working environment for women across the company's global footprint, offering women across 30 countries a minimum of 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave.
In New Zealand, Vodafone offers 22 weeks paid parental leave.