OC&C Strategic Consultants has equalised paid parental leave for its workforce as it strives to achieve gender equality globally.
The international consulting business, which has 12 offices worldwide, introduced the family policy to encourage shared care of dependents. It is also offering flexibility in how the leave is used so that parents can make decisions to suit their personal needs.
Employees will additionally benefit from support before, during and after their leave, enabling a smoother return to work. Parental coaching, flexible hours and emergency childcare is also now available to them.
Danielle Lestrade, OC&C’s global director of people, said: “We wholeheartedly believe that becoming a parent should not be a barrier to advancing in your career and for the past four years, we have been evolving our entire parental strategy to reflect this.
“We live in a time of dual-career households (be that through choice or necessity) and traditional parental policies are increasingly coming under scrutiny for not reflecting this dynamic. Instead, these traditions push birth givers, mothers, or primary adopters to do the lion’s share of early life childcare while the other parent returns to work.”
She explained that while statutory shared leave has recently become more widely available to staff globally, this often comes with a low pay rate that makes it unaffordable for many working parents.
Lestrade added: “We have therefore continued to see an unequal approach to how parents choose to balance childcare and work in the early years, impacting career progression of female staff and ultimately driving the gender imbalance we see at senior levels in the industry.
“Our new policy will empower fathers (and other non-birth parents) to spend more time at home following the arrival of a child, enabling their partner to return to work at a point that suits that individual family. We also expect this will create a more equal pace of career progression between male and female peers at OC&C.
“I am extremely proud to be part of a firm that is not only willing to call out the source of the problem but is committed enough to take such a bold step forward in solving it.”
According to the company, its policy offers “life-enriching benefits, empowering OC&C employees to balance family life alongside pursuing successful careers”. It believes that “by tackling historical imbalances between maternity and paternity leave, the firm is eradicating barriers to gender equality and supporting its employees during a life-defining moment”.
OC&C’s diversity and inclusion partner, Simona Dossena, added: “Equalising paid parental leave is one of our many commitments to diversity and inclusion at OC&C. Our employee-led Global Diversity Networks, alongside our leadership and People teams, are instrumental in initiating and shaping all our D&I policies, and our Parental Network has been a particularly important contributor to shaping this policy. We are collectively committed to building the best home for the best strategy talent for ALL our colleagues.’’