British American Tobacco to introduce 16 weeks’ fully paid maternity leave

parental leave

British American Tobacco (BAT) has announced a range of benefits for new parents among its workforce worldwide, including a compulsory minimum of 16 weeks’ fully paid maternity leave.

The organisation, which employs more than 55,000 people across 180 countries, will introduce  the benefit to new mothers and adoptive parents from 1 January 2019, supplementing statutory pay where required.

BAT says the new benefit will go beyond local requirements for 20,000 employees in 26 countries.

A return-to-work guarantee means that all new mothers who are on maternity leave, or parents who are on adoption leave, for 12 months or less will be able to return to their previous job or a suitable alternative wherever reasonably practicable.

In addition, all new parents and adopters will have the opportunity to request flexible working arrangements following their return to work during the first year of the child’s birth or arrival. Depending on role and location, this could mean one or more days off per working week, reduced working hours or the flexibility to work from home, subject to local business requirements.

BAT has also set up an online coaching service, called ‘[email protected] online’, designed to help new parents and prepare line managers for career discussions and to support those returning to work.

Nicandro Durante, chief executive at BAT, said: “It’s of such great importance to us that our organisation is made up of as many different types of people as possible, ensuring they are rewarded, appreciated and supported, especially at times when they need it most.

“We want to ensure no one at BAT has to choose between their career and their family, and that’s why this will be available to colleagues all over the world. We are proud to be offering this new range of parental benefits on a global scale and we are looking forward to seeing the changes this will hopefully make to the lives of both our current and future employees.”