Flow announces major update to parental leave policy
Flow offices on Half-Way-Tree Road

Flow Jamaica has boosted its parental leave policy to benefit newly employed parents of newborns, with improved benefits.

A leading equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) advocate, the communications and entertainment firm made the announcement during the Jamaica Stock Exchange's (JSE) annual International Women's Day Bell Ringing Ceremony on March 8 at the JSE's downtown Kingston offices.

Sara Martins de Oliveira, senior director, marketing at Flow, underscored her company's continued efforts to support new employees who are parents, with the allocation of more time, with fully paid leave, than nationally approved standards, for its workers.

"As of April 1 this year, all new employees will be able to benefit from maternity and paternity leave from their first day, that is day one, of their employment with us. Their leave is, of course, in keeping with our parental leave policy," de Oliveira declared.

Under Flow's parental leave policy which was launched in June 2019, birth partners, adoptive and foster parents benefit from eight weeks of paid leave following the birth of a child, placement of a child with an employee in connection with adoption or foster care, or birth of a child via gestational surrogacy. Birth mothers are provided with up to an additional eight weeks of paid leave for a total of 16 weeks paid maternity leave.

Since the launch and ensuing public debate, several other corporate entities have introduced similar polices and on January 1, the Government introduced 20 working days' paternity leave for fathers of newborns and adoptive parents bringing a new child into the home, as well as an increase from 40 days to three months for maternity leave.

"We've always been guided by doing what is right for our team and so this enhancement of our progressive parental leave policy is yet another step in the right direction, as we support our team members and their families," de Oliveira added.

This year's Bell Ringing Ceremony aligned with the global theme — 'DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality', a topic widely espoused by influential women through presentations by JSE's Managing Director Dr Marlene Street-Forrest; Minister of Culture and Gender Affairs Olivia Grange; the United Nations' Women Multi Country Office Caribbean representative, Tonni Ann Brodber; and Flow executive, de Oliveira. A panel discussion wrapped the day's event.

"We also share the UN Women's quest for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education, which are crucial for a sustainable future," de Oliveira said.

"We must all do our part to empower them [women] to access the digital tools necessary to enable a brighter economic future and secure their rights in digital spaces," she added.

Under its Skills for the Future and Training for Professionals programmes, Flow Jamaica, through its Flow Foundation, has provided training in digital skills to thousands of Jamaicans including young women; and recently launched a year-long Connected and Protected campaign, focused on online safety.

Hundreds of secondary level students benefited through their participation at last month's Safer Internet Day Youth Summit, which exposed them to safety measures and protection of their rights, while navigating the various digital platforms in cyberspace.

Sharing that Flow Jamaica is a proud signatory to the UN Women's WIN-WIN programme in support of the women's empowerment principles, de Oliveira further implored other corporate entities to join the movement for female empowerment and development.

"We invite other corporate entities to examine their space and see how they can make a difference, how they can influence and drive change," de Oliveira urged. "We cannot afford to fail our women and girls!"

"We remain committed to fostering a balanced, diverse and inclusive workplace where persons feel accepted and welcomed; where there are equal opportunities for advancement, as we promote the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion," she stated.

In addition to its parental leave policy, the company also implemented various programmes and policies in support of hybrid working, flexitime, dress for your day and its policy outlining its zero-tolerance stance against gender-based violence, and how it supports team members who are survivors.

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