Nestlé Middle East has announced a new Maternal Protection Policy on International Women’s Day which gives women a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave and the right to extend their leave by up to six months.
In addition, the Policy includes flexible working arrangements and guaranteed access to breastfeeding rooms during working hours in all offices and sites, including factories, equipped to ensure the comfortable expressing of milk, storage, and hygiene. Comfort packs including information on breastfeeding as well as a breast pump allowance are also provided to new mothers.
“We entrench Gender Balance in the workplace to promote diversity and the inclusion of expertise and insight from men and women of all generations,” said Christine Geary, Human Resources Director at Nestlé Middle East. “This policy will help us better support mothers and their families across the region, and reinforces our support for exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of a child’s life.”
Long-standing policies at Nestlé Middle East already promote clear alignment with managers to ensure transparency and reintegration into job tasks once a person returns to work from maternity leave, with several women already receiving promotions prior to going on maternity leave. The process makes room for clear handover of roles and responsibilities to team members ahead of maternity leave to ensure business continuity.
Gender Balance at Nestlé Middle East, one of the key pillars in the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, shuns quotas in favor of a system that hones talents and creates favorable conditions to ensure employees of all ages have equal opportunities to evolve their careers within the company.
“For us the equation is simple: We need the talents of younger and older men and women of all backgrounds, who can really thrive in work environments that allow them to best manage their personal lives,” said Geary.
The Diversity and Inclusion forum at the company involves several initiatives, including support to employees who plan to deliver abroad by providing the opportunity to work from any Nestlé office within the region or remote access for one month for both the father and the mother prior to maternity/paternity leave.
The commitment to “be a gender-balanced company by creating enabling conditions in our work environment to achieve annual increases in the percentage of women managers and senior leaders” was announced in the 2015 Nestlé in Society report for the Middle East, and is on the agenda of the company’s top management.
All senior managers at the company receive training on Diversity and Inclusion awareness and leadership, to help eliminate unconscious bias and promote an environment that embraces diversity and fosters an inclusive culture.
The percentage of women in total managerial positions in the region at Nestlé in the Middle East has risen from 16% in 2011 to 24% at the end of 2017. In addition, today five women are part of the senior leadership team at the company.