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Ludhiana, March 17, 2015 (Neel Kamal Sonu): On the occasion of the International Women’s Week, Vodafone India, one of India’s leading telecommunications service providers, today announced a new maternity policy. The highlight of the initiatives was the announcement of the new maternity policy that offers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, 1 working week of paternity leave and 6 hours per day for 6 months post return from maternity for child care.

The extended maternity leave and only 30 hour work week for 6 months will help returning mothers transition comfortably into the workplace and also attend to her child’s nursing needs. The introduction of paternity leave will enable the new father bond with the baby and be around with the family during this precious family time.

With this announcement, Vodafone has become one of the first few organisations in the world to introduce a mandatory uniform minimum global maternity policy. Other than the United Nations, very few global organisations and even fewer multinational corporations - have adopted minimum maternity policies of this kind. While a number of Vodafone subsidiaries already offer substantial maternity care terms which will continue as before, the new mandatory minimum global maternity policy will make a significant difference to the lives of thousands of Vodafone women employees in countries where there is little or no legislative requirement to provide maternity support.

Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said, “Too many talented women leave working life because they face a difficult choice between either caring for a newborn baby or maintaining their careers. Our new mandatory minimum global maternity policy will support over 1,000 Vodafone women employees every year in countries with little or no statutory maternity care. Women account for 35% of our employees worldwide but only 21% of our international senior leadership team. We believe our new maternity policy will play an important role in helping to bridge that gap. Supporting working mothers at all levels of our organisation will ultimately result in better decisions, a better culture and a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs.”

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