Volvo announces gender-neutral parent leave policy, aims to be a game-changer

Swedish carmaker Volvo has announced a gender-neutral parent leave policy in its Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, which the company hopes will make it an employer of choice for highly skilled job seekers.

In a statement released on Monday, the company said it would introduce a paid gender-neutral parental leave policy for sales company employees in the EMEA region, "offering mothers and fathers a total of six months of leave with 80% pay".

Charmagne Mavudzi of Volvo SA told Fin24 the policy would benefit 33 Volvo employees from May this year.

"We are driving a flexible working environment that focuses more on conducive work environments and setups to improve productivity. So we look at output vs heads in the office," said Mavudzi.

Mavudzi said new technologies were "a large contributing factor" to the company's ability to implement the policy. Volvo also exercises remote working as part of its global network, Mavudzi said.

The company said the policy was more "generous and inclusive" than most existing national parental leave policies in Europe and that it was the first of its kind in the car industry.

"The new policy is inspired by national legislation in Volvo Cars’ home market of Sweden, famous around the globe for its generous parental leave arrangements, which have delivered tangible benefits for parents and children alike in recent decades," the statement said.

In the statement, Volvo head of People Experience (HR), Hanna Fager, said Volvo needed to become an attractive employer to be able to deliver on its ambitious growth plans.

"The EMEA initiative is one of several activities with the aim to create an inclusive culture and attract and retain a diverse set of people. It improves life-work balance, boosts family time and fits with a progressive, human-centric company like Volvo Cars," said Fager.

The statement said the new policy formed part of Volvo Cars' ambitious people strategy, aimed at attracting and retaining the best people.

Volvo South Africa could not be reached for further comment.

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