Volvo goes global with its Swedish family values

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Baby's feet held in hands
Image caption,
The new rules will offer both parents six weeks of full pay

Swedish carmaker Volvo will offer a generous paid parental leave scheme to its 40,000 employees globally.

Parental leave benefit is often generous at Swedish companies, and now Volvo's scheme will apply to all of its employees, including China and the US.

Under the plan, staff will be entitled to 24 weeks of paid parental leave while receiving 80% of their base pay during the leave period.

Headquartered in Sweden, Volvo is owned by China's biggest carmaker Geely.

The global policy applies to either parent and the leave can be taken any time within the first three years of parenthood.

"When parents are supported to balance the demands of work and family, it helps to close the gender gap and allows everyone to excel in their careers," said Volvo Cars chief executive Hakan Samuelsson.

The policy's implementation follows a pilot scheme launched in 2019, in which 46% of all applicants were fathers.

It applies to all legally registered parents, including adoptive, foster care and surrogate parents, as well as non-birth parents in same-sex couples.

In an effort to encourage uptake of the scheme, the company has changed its communications strategy to present 24 weeks as the default option for new parents.

"By opting all our employees into paid parental leave we narrow the gender gap and get a more diverse workforce, boosting performance and strengthening our business," said Volvo spokesman Hanna Fager.

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The leave policy is inspired by national legislation in Volvo's home market of Sweden, which is one of only a few countries that already offers leave by law for either parent.

Other Swedish companies have also introduced paid parental leave for their worldwide employees, including music streaming company Spotify. In 2015 it introduced six months of parental leave with full pay.

"Some countries do not offer any paid leave to new parents, or exclude certain groups of parents - the latter is particularly true for fathers," Volvo said in a statement.