Volvo Cars announced on Tuesday that it would be expanding paid parental leave for its employees to 24 weeks regardless of gender.
CNBC reported that Volvo employees, both salaried and hourly, who have worked for the company for at least one year will be eligible to be a part of the “Family Bond” program, which significantly expands on the prior parental leave plan that granted six weeks of pay in the first year of parenthood.
The plan covers those who become parents through birth, adoption, surrogacy and permanent foster care. During their leave, employees will be paid 80 percent of their base pay.
Employees in the U.S. will have the option of taking 19 weeks of fully paid parental leave in the first three years of becoming a parent.
According to Volvo Group North America, Volvo currently employs more than 17,000 people in North America.
On April 1st we are opting in our 40,000+ employees around the globe, in all plants, factories, and offices, to a new gender-neutral, 24 weeks, paid parental leave policy. #LifeAtVolvoCars pic.twitter.com/ukhTXzSYLv
“It’s something we believe is setting a new standard in the business,” Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told CNBC. “We do this, not to introduce some kind of new favorable benefit to our employees, we do it more because we think it’s good for our company. We will be more attractive as an employer. There’s a competition going on for talent.”
He said the company decided to launch the program after observing positive results from a pilot program for its European sales employees.
Samuelsson said the new program will likely cost the company the “considerable sum” of somewhere in the low millions but added that because “it gives us better, diverse management and a stronger brand, it will definitely be worth it.”
“What we do as a company is living our values,” he said. “It will be good for our reputation everywhere.”
[email protected] (Joseph Choi)