As we enter a new decade, the nature of work has changed in many respects, prompting employers to respond accordingly. To that end Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced a new initiative that will certainly be on interest to its employees, and in particular the ones considering starting families.

HPE is now introducing 26 weeks worth of paid parental leave (mothers and fathers) for its South African employees, which aligns with a wider global initiative under what the firm calls Work That Fits Your Life.

“HPE enhanced the Paid Parental Leave policy to allow new parents, with at least one year of HPE service, to benefit from 26 weeks of paid leave within the first 12 months after the birth or adoption of a child,” explains a press statement from the firm.

This recent change in policy means mothers get a further 13 weeks compared to what they were allowed previously, and fathers an even longer 24 weeks longer. The longer is quite significant, especially if fathers choose to remain at home following the birth of their child or adoption, to assist the mother or indeed allow her to head back into work sooner if wanted.

“As research shows parental bonding is essential for the wellbeing and future health of a child, supporting new parents is more important than ever. Both new policies demonstrate the value HPE places on creating a culture of ‘work that fits your life’ and a gender balance that creates equal opportunities at home and in the workplace,” the firm notes.

“We are very proud to be rolling out this global initiative for our employees. By investing in our highly skilled and motivated workforce, we will cement HPE’s position as an employer of choice globally and here in South Africa,” adds President Ntuli, MD of HPE South Africa.

Along with increased parental leave, HPE is also going to implement the following initiatives as part of its Work That Fits Your Life plan:

Support for existing families – Eligibility for the extended paid paternal leave benefit is being retroactively applied to parents with children born or adopted on or after 1st May 2019.

Parental Transition Support – New parents will be given the opportunity to work part-time, for three years, following the birth or adoption of a child. It provides employees more time to bond with their new child and also helps them transition back to work.

Retirement Transition Support – Employees approaching retirement will be given the opportunity to work part-time to help adjust to the lifestyle changes of retirement while transferring their knowledge and/or serving as a mentor to other HPE employees.

Wellness Fridays – As part of the global wellness and work/life balance initiative, employees are encouraged to leave the office three hours early one Friday each month to volunteer, focus on physical or emotional health, or spend time on personal or career development.

It should be interesting to see if other South African companies will follow the lead of HPE when it comes to paid parental leave, as well as whether this will become a determining factor in choosing to work for the firm moving forward.

[Image] – Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash