New equality policy
Diageo unveils equal parental leave for all employees
Diageo worker James Ashall and son
Whisky giant Diageo is offering male and female employees an equal 52 weeks parental leave in what is being seen as a breakthrough in workers’ rights.
Parents employed by the company in the UK will be eligible for the same fully-paid 26 weeks, retaining benefits and bonuses regardless of gender, sexual orientation or whether they become parents biologically, via surrogacy or adopt.
The ambitious move is part of Diageo’s work to support gender equality and to create a fully inclusive and diverse workforce, where barriers to career progression are removed and talent is retained and nurtured.
The offer is open to all of Diageo’s 4,500 employees across the UK, including approximately 3,100 in Scotland who are primarily in manufacturing roles.
Mairéad Nayager, chief HR Officer at Diageo, said: “True gender equality in the working world requires fundamental changes to a broad range of working practices, including a shake-up of the policies and cultural norms around parental leave. Today’s announcement is about matching ambition with action and supporting all of our colleagues – regardless of gender – to experience the joy of raising a young family, while continuing to thrive at work.”
Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mordaunt, said: “I’m delighted to see Diageo making this move. Shared parental leave gives both mums and dads the chance to spend quality time with their child in the important first months of their life, creating a bond that will last a lifetime.
“Employers can reap the benefits too. We know that flexibility in work is proven to create happier, more loyal and more productive workforces.
“Action like this is exactly what we are encouraging as part of our forthcoming strategy which will aim to empower every woman in the UK to achieve their true potential.”
The new policy also strengthens the support for parents as they return to work including the option of keeping in touch days, parental coaching, flexible working policies and access to free independent counselling.
Diageo’s commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse working environment has been recognised by the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index in 2019. In 2018 Diageo was named by Thomson Reuters as the 4th most inclusive and diverse company in the world and ranked by Equileap as the best company in the UK for gender equality.