Employees of Seychelles Breweries Limited will benefit from the new global family leave policy which its United Kingdom-based parent company, Diageo, has announced will take effect as of July 1.
The new policy offers all Diageo employees new benefits in terms of maternity and paternity leave.
Female employees will now be entitled to a minimum of 26 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, whilst male employees will benefit from a fully paid paternity leave of four weeks.
“Diageo is seeking to lead the way with a new and enhanced parental leave policy supporting all employees – wherever they work in the world, whatever their gender or background,” said Caroline Hirst, the global company’s human resource director.
Hist described the new policy as Diageo’s ambitions to create an inclusive and diverse workforce.
“This is an important step we have made globally across all our markets. We want to support our employees as they move through their work life – including if they choose to raise a family,” explained Hist.
Seychelles Breweries is the leading beverage company on the island nation. It employs 142 staff, amongst which 46 are women.
Its human resources business partner, Shirley Louise, has described this new family leave policy as a “game changer” that emphasizes the authenticity of Diageo and Seychelles Breweries Limited focus on diversity and inclusion.
“We are proud to be a company that is leading in this space and most importantly setting the pace in Seychelles. It was an amazing feeling sharing this to expecting parents on announcement day and it is moments like this that makes me proud to work in HR. High fives all round!” said Louise.
Seychelles Breweries is the leading beverage company on the island nation. It employs 142 staff, among which 46 are women. (Seychelles Breweries Ltd) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
Staff at the Seychelles Breweries have welcomed the news, especially expectant mother Nora Morel.
“Nowadays it is very difficult to find childminders for months-old infants. It puts a lot of pressure on the parents to find suitable service within the three months. Now that I will have six months, I will have more time and less stress to do that before I return to work,” said Morel.
This view is also shared by other people – not staff of the company – whom SNA talked to: “I think that it is crucial that mother and newborn have more time together. And as for the paternity leave, four weeks is ok but this should also be reviewed and extended,” said Hansel Jeremie – a father of two from Mont Buxton.
However self-employed Renette Mousbe feels that six months’ maternity leave is a luxury some women cannot afford.
“During all the time I had my babies, I only took one month off and went straight back to work with my baby in a basket. I found this too excessive for me and even for my staff as we work on the Seychelles Revenue Commission’s deadline. Imagine an auditor being away for six months,” explained the Executive Director.
The Ministry of Employment has welcomed this new family leave policy. “Already nationally we are as per the International Labour Organisation’s standard. Last year we reviewed this. As of May 2018, working mothers who have given birth are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave, instead of 14 weeks. We also introduced the 10 days paternity leave, which doubled the prior leave,” explained the director general of labour relation in the Employment Department, Steve Monnaie.
The revised law places Seychelles — a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean — second in Africa, behind Kenya in terms of paid paternity leave.
Monnaie said such initiative will increase productivity, motivate staff and retain employees, adding that “other companies are also encouraged to come up with such initiatives.”