Press Release | 08 Apr 2022

Vodafone introduces new policies to further support parents and carers in the workplace

People going through key life stages - such as carers and parents with premature children - will be supported by Vodafone's new employee policies.

  • New policies will offer additional support for Vodafone UK employees to help them through key life stages.
  • Support for those who experience Pregnancy Loss will be extended to offer two weeks of paid leave, when the loss occurs before the 24th week of pregnancy.
  • Parents whose baby is born prematurely will also benefit from new changes which will offer them the option to delay the start of their Maternity, Paternity, Adoption or Shared Parental Leave until the baby is discharged from hospital.
  • Carer’s Leave will introduce 18 weeks of leave, the first of which will be fully paid, for any employee looking after loved ones who are elderly, disabled or seriously ill.
  • Free access to a Care Concierge Service will give assistance and support to carers with elderly caring responsibilities.

Vodafone has announced policy changes to support employees further in the UK through key life stages. The new commitments, announced today, have been brought in to ensure greater support for carers and parents and include added assistance, more flexibility, and extended paid and unpaid leave.

To bolster its existing offering for employees who look after loved ones who are older, disabled or seriously ill, Vodafone’s new Carer’s Leave will offer 18 weeks’ leave per dependent adult*, the first week of which will be fully paid. This mirrors the company’s Parental Leave Policy which offers the same benefit for those caring for a child, up to the point they turn 18, with a maximum of four weeks’ leave to be taken in any one year. With 6,000 people becoming carers in the UK every day, this type of additional support is increasingly needed.

Vodafone has also introduced free access to Legal & General’s Care Concierge Service, providing support and assistance to employees who find themselves balancing elderly caring responsibilities with employment, often in addition to other commitments.

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The Care Concierge service provides one-to-one telephone support alongside tailored information and guidance to help navigate what can be a complex elderly care system for a loved one.

The new benefit includes a 30-minute telephone session with a Care Expert to help employees understand what care is needed and how to arrange it, plus guidance on typical care costs and the different ways of paying for care. Additional discounted services are also available to provide extra help with finding care or if employees would like a Care Expert to act on their behalf.

After reviewing feedback from its workforce on where it values additional support, Vodafone has also amended its existing Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Leave policies to support parents whose baby is born prematurely. The updated policies recognise that when a baby is premature, employees may want to delay the start of their leave until the baby is discharged from hospital. This is often the point at which the time away from work is most valuable so employees will now have the option to adapt their leave to suit their circumstances.

Vodafone UK employees will also see the introduction of two weeks of paid leave for expectant parents, regardless of gender, who lose a baby before the 24th week of pregnancy. Such leave is already available to those who lose a child in the later stages of pregnancy or at any time before a child’s 18th birthday. This is inclusive of whether the loss occurs to an employee or their partner.

Flexible working and enhanced parental policies key to retaining millions of carers in UK workforce

Women are more than twice as likely as men to leave their jobs due to caring responsibilities, a new report finds, as Vodafone’s new Global Parental Leave Policy comes into force.

Clare Corkish, Vodafone’s UK HR Director, said: “As an employer we are committed to helping protect and support our people and their families through important life stages. These new policy changes have been made in the belief that we can have a positive impact at a time when people are dealing with sensitive and stressful situations – and ultimately need support the most.

“Our ground-breaking Maternity Leave, Parental Leave, Domestic Violence and Abuse policy, and more recently our Global Menopause Commitment, have all been curated to best meet the needs of our employees and we expect these enhancements to make a real difference.”

Inclusion for all is integral to Vodafone’s purpose, reinforcing its ambition to be a company whose global workforce reflects the customers it serves and the broader societies within which it operates.

Vodafone’s goal is for women to hold 45% of UK management and leadership roles by 2030. To meet its ambition to be recognised as a leading employer for women, Vodafone has gender target monitoring and action plans in place. It has also developed and introduced a series of pioneering global programmes. These include progressive flexible working policies; maternity and parental leave that supports families to share caring responsibilities in the home; ReConnect to attract people who have taken a career break back to the workplace; a commitment on menopause and a Domestic Violence and Abuse policy.


Notes to Editors

* This is not an annual entitlement. 

In March 2015, Vodafone pioneered a global maternity policy, offering women across Vodafone’s markets and operations a minimum of 16 weeks fully-paid maternity leave and a 30-hour week at full pay for the first six months after their return to work.

Vodafone launched the ReConnect programme in 2017 to attract talented individuals who have left the workplace for several years – often to raise a family – who want to return to work but are struggling to make the professional connections needed or refresh the skills required.

In 2019, Vodafone supported families with a new global parental leave policy offering 16 weeks fully paid leave to all employees, giving every parent the opportunity to have more time with children new to their family. Vodafone employees can phase their return from parental leave by working the equivalent of a 30-hour week at full pay for a further six months.

In 2019, Vodafone launched the first global Domestic Violence and Abuse policy, setting out a comprehensive range of workplace supports, security and other measures for employees at risk of, experiencing, and recovering from, domestic violence and abuse. Vodafone also made publicly available a toolkit on domestic violence and abuse at work, enabling line managers and colleagues to recognise, respond and support affected employees.

In 2021, Vodafone launched a commitment on menopause, rolling out a training and awareness programme to all employees globally, including a toolkit focused on raising understanding of the menopause and providing guidance on how to support employees, colleagues, and family members. This support was added to existing policies enabling employees to take leave for sickness and medical treatment, opt for flexible working and access support and care through Vodafone’s Employee Assistance programme.

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About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

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