Captain Morgan, Baileys manufacturer ups maternity, paternity leave

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Diageo is boosting family-friendly benefits for its more than 30,000 global employees.

The beverage company — which manufactures liquor brands including Captain Morgan, Ciroc and Baileys — will give female employees a minimum of 26 weeks of fully paid maternity leave following the birth, adoption, surrogacy or foster placement of a child. The company is also adding a minimum of four weeks of fully paid paternity leave, although some markets, including the U.S., are increasing it to 26 weeks. The changes will go into effect in July.

The company currently offers 18 weeks of parental leave in the U.S., split between paid and unpaid time off for both parents.

“[Family leave policies] help drive attraction, aid retention and more importantly have a positive impact on employee engagement and well-being, minimizing some of the stressors inherent in significant lifestyle changes,” says Deirdre Mahlan, president of Diageo North America.

See also: Sweetgreen dresses up its paid parental leave benefits

In the U.S., Diageo’s updated paid leave benefit applies to all full-time workers and is part of the company’s broader suite of family-friendly benefits. Diageo also offers flexible working, subsidized backup childcare, matches in flexible spending accounts for dependent care, fertility treatment reimbursement and access to pumping rooms for nursing mothers, among other benefits. The company employs about 2,600 people across North America.

“We believe we can deliver great commercial outcomes and define ourselves as an employer of choice through competitive policy differentiation,” Mahlan says.
Diageo isn’t the only company to recently boost its paid family leave benefits. Employers including Sweetgreen, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Bloomberg have all made changes to their paid parental leave policies in the last month.

See also: 8 benefits for working parents

Data shows employers are increasingly investing in these offerings. Paid maternity leave policies jumped nine percentage points to 35% between 2016 and 2018, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. Paternity leave saw a jump of eight percentage points over the same two year period, SHRM reports.

While there is currently no federal mandate in the U.S. for paid family leave, there has been some buzz surrounding the idea. In his State of the Union address in February, President Trump called for federal paid family leave, saying his plan would allow every new parent a “chance to bond with their newborn child.” While American parents are guaranteed time off from work to spend with a newborn child under the Family and Medical Leave Act, they often have to make it work without a paycheck. Some states, including Washington and California, do have laws requiring family leave.

See also: Hewlett Packard Enterprise adds six months of paid parental leave

Mahlan says she hopes the company’s new policy will challenge the status quo on paid family leave and help to differentiate Diageo from competitors. The company hopes to create a more fully inclusive and diverse workforce.

“We aim to continually build policies that are purpose-led, performance-enhancing and competitive in relation to our peer companies,” she says. “We also hope to challenge the status quo and change the conversation.”

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