In a bold move intended to “champion equality”, leading Maltese telecoms company GO has announced it will start offering four weeks of birth leave to all new fathers and non-birthing parents.
“The feedback I received from some of my colleagues was that they feel a level of discrimination,” GO’s Chief People Officer Sarah Mifsud told Lovin Malta.
“They’d love to be a part of their child’s early days but they’re expected to be at work. We don’t only want to support our employees if they want to be with their newborn baby; we’re actively encouraging it.”
Maltese law currently offers a single day of birth leave for fathers and non-birthing parents, although a 2019 EU directive which was spearheaded by Maltese MEP David Casa is set to increase it to ten days.
GO already goes above and beyond the current statutory requirement offering its employees three days of paternity leave. However, it’s now about to take it up a few notches.
Fathers and non-birthing parents will be allowed to avail themselves of birth leave within a year of their child’s birth and can choose to take it all at once or bit by bit.
This leave is irrespective of gender and whether or not the employee is in an established relationship with the mother and is over and above employees’ vacation and sick leave.
Mifsud said this measure would have impacted around 61 GO employees over the past five years, an average of 12 a year.
The telecoms company employs around 800 people
She said this leave won’t only see their employees spend more time with their babies, but will help mothers transition back to work after months of maternity leave.
“If you want to champion equality, you should make it as easy for parents as possible,” she said.
“This isn’t a baby vacation; parents will be taking this leave to care for their newborn children, which will contributes to the bigger picture – helping women transition to work and strengthening the family unit.”
“It was an easy decision for us; we’ve always been very generous with our staff and despite the great impact it will have on an operational level, management is willing to manage it. It’s about doing what’s right for our people.”
Do you think the mandatory one-day birth leave period should be extended?