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Swedish automaker Volvo Cars is increasing paid parental leave for employees around the world to 24 weeks, regardless of gender, the company said on Tuesday.
Employees – both hourly and salaried – who have been with the automaker for at least a year are eligible for the new “Family Bond” program, the company said.
It covers those who become parents through birth, adoption, permanent foster care and surrogate mothers. Non-natural parents living in same-sex couples are also eligible. The program goes into effect Thursday, Volvo said.
Employees will be paid 80% of their base salary by default under the program. They can enjoy free time during the first three years of parenting a new child. According to Volvo, employees in the United States also have the option of receiving 19 weeks of fully paid parental leave within 36 months of becoming a parent.
According to Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson, the new policy aims to help the company acquire and retain talent, as it aims to become a manufacturer of fully electric vehicles by 2030.
“We think this is something that sets a new standard in the business,” he told UKTN. “We are doing this, not to introduce some kind of new benefit to our employees, we do it more because we think it is good for our business. We will be more attractive as an employer. There is competition. for talents. “
Samuelsson said the company expects the new program to cost “a considerable sum” – likely “single-digit millions”. He said that as long as “it gives us better, diverse management and a stronger brand, it will certainly be worth it.”
According to the company, Volvo’s current program allows six weeks of salary to be used in the first year of becoming a parent.
Volvo’s new parental leave program is among the most comprehensive in the automotive industry. For example, General Motors and Stellantis are offering American workers up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for new parents, while Ford Motor is offering up to eight weeks. These are in addition to the six to eight weeks offered to birth mothers under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Volvo has decided to launch the new parental leave program following the positive results of a similar pilot program for thousands of its sellers in Europe, Samuelsson said.
“What we do as a company is live our values,” he said. “It will be good for our reputation everywhere.”