Molson Coors introduces equal parent leave policy

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Molson Coors has introduced an equal parent leave policy. Image: Getty, AndreyPopov
Molson Coors has introduced an equal parent leave policy. Image: Getty, AndreyPopov

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Drinks company Molson Coors has announced a new UK equal parent leave policy in the run up to International Women’s Day 2024.

New parents will be entitled to up to 52 weeks of leave – 26 of which are fully paid – regardless of gender or path to parenthood. A further 12 weeks of fully paid leave is also available for neonatal care if needed.

Additionally, all parents will qualify for up to 10 paid keeping in touch days and paid antenatal appointments, while those taking more than 26 weeks leave will qualify for a phased return to work for the first four weeks, working 80% of their hours while receiving 100% of their pay.

Molson Coors Beverage Company Western Europe managing director Phil Whitehead said the Equal Parent Leave Policy was an important next step in achieving more gender diversity in every level of the business and create a more inclusive and equitable experience for all.

Recognising parents’ needs

“At its most simple and powerful level, Equal Parent Leave recognises that parents should be able to choose how to care for their young children, rather than it being a decision made for them by their employers largely rooted in traditional assumptions about primary and secondary carer roles,”​ Whitehead added.

“One parent taking on the lion’s share of caring for children may be the right thing to do for many families, but I want it to be a choice – a positive choice that isn’t based on gender stereotypes or having to decide who is the primary or secondary carer.”

Outside of breaking down stereotypes of women having to stay home to care for children, Whitehead hoped the new policy would empower men and challenge the ‘secondary carer’ label often taken by new fathers.

“We want to make it easier for fathers to be able to take more time away from work as a new parent, because we know that by doing that, we are also helping to give mother’s more choice and families the opportunity to start that parenting journey on a more equal footing,”​ said Whitehead.

Gender-neutral parental leave

According to research by ElliotRae.Com, there are currently less than 100 companies in the UK and Ireland that offer some form of gender-neutral parent leave that removes the principle of a primary and secondary carer.

Tommy Elliott, customer development executive at Molson Coors, said: “I’ve been through those early years as a parent in that ‘secondary carer’ box so I know just how much this new policy will help new dads and parents. It gives parents a choice to do what fits best for the family.

“From a work perspective it takes the pressure off by having the flexibility to take the time you need to support your partner in those precious early weeks and months. It can be a big worry coming back to work after a couple of weeks and leaving your partner at home, so having the ability to take more of an equal role also helps from a mental health and wellbeing perspective.”

Meanwhile, last year saw a global campaign to help empower women working in the meat industry​and foster the involvement of male allies launched by Meat Business Women.

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