Japan Tobacco International is launching a global equal family leave policy for all of its employees.

The new global strategy, which goes beyond the national family leave provisions in 80 per cent of the 81 countries in which the multinational is located, offers a minimum of 20 weeks fully paid leave for employees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or whether employees become parents by giving birth or through adoption or surrogacy. The new plan will be rolled out on Jan. 1, 2021.

“Our new family leave policy is a great milestone in our diversity and gender equality journey,” said Eddy Pirard, president and chief executive officer of JTI, in a press release. “We are proud to introduce the new gender-neutral benefit that supports all families, giving every parent equal opportunity to spend quality time with their children, without worrying about the impact it could have on their finances or careers.”

Read: How to bridge the parental leave divide

The organization noted the new policy will make a significant difference to employees, particularly in countries where there’s little or no legal requirement to provide family leave.

“Men can still be stigmatized for taking time out of their careers,” said Christiane Bisanzio, the company’s vice-president of diversity and inclusion. “We aim to shift such perceptions in the workplace for both men and women, including their managers. With our new family leave policy, we embrace all parents as well as their choices and lifestyles.”

In order to ensure the new policy’s implementation process and proper use of benefits, the policy is establishing a phased approach for secondary caregivers in some locations, starting with a minimum of four weeks of paid leave.

Read: Will 18-month parental leave reduce pressures on working families?

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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