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Volvo Group rolls out gender-neutral programme for new parents within workforce

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Volvo Group India has rolled out a gender-neutral programme for new parents.

The policy, rolled out in July, gives 26 weeks of leave for the primary caregiver, who will also be entitled to another 26 weeks of extended leave on an unpaid basis, or flexible working for the same amount of time. Secondary caregivers will be given a month of leave which the employee can take in tranches across one year, depending on the need.

“We are moving away from the traditional definitions of maternity and paternity leave, and are recognising that a child can come into a family by a variety of means and scenarios. Our new policy gives leave for primary and secondary caregivers,” said Amit Sharma, vice-president and head of people and culture, Volvo Group India.

The programme also focuses on breaking the bias to challenge stereotypes with the help of a gender-inclusive leave policy. The company has also rolled out platforms for parents to share and connect with other employees irrespective of sexual orientation or gender.

“The new policy reflects the changing dynamics of the modern family, and will also allow fathers more time for taking on responsibilities. The initiative is part of our commitment towards building a more family-friendly and inclusive workplace,” Sharma told ET.

Volvo Group has teams spread across India in all its major functions – technology, sales, purchasing, manufacturing, supply chain, etc. It also has global competency centres which provide digital connected solutions, accounting services, and other services to global teams. The company has also rolled out a flexible work model where employees are given flexibility to work from home some of the time depending on the nature of the role. Volvo Group, which currently has about 3,500 employees in India, hired about 1,000 employees last year, and is expecting to grow at a similar rate this year as well.

The company is also looking to build its pipeline for women leaders, through its career re-entry programme for women who have taken a career break, as well as its Empower initiative which is aimed at moving women employees further up the company hierarchy.

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