Telecoms giant MTN Cameroon will start giving female employees up to 18 weeks or four and half months of paid maternity leave this month, the company has announced, setting a record that even the state’s three months does not match.
“Effective March 2016, expectant permanent employees of MTN Cameroon will benefit from an additional four weeks maternity leave, paid by the Company, bringing the entire maternity leave to a total of 18 weeks, being 4.5 months,” MTN said in a statement, adding that it is “a first in Cameroon”.
MTN announced the “strong measure” on 8 March, the International Women’s Day. The timing sought to project the company as a forbearer of “workplace parity” in a sector still dominated by men.
Women represent a little over 38% of MTN Cameroon’s workforce, and close to 50% of its Senior Management
Women make up more than 30% of MTN Cameroon’s workforce and close to 50% of its senior management, according to the company. “MTN Cameroon promotes a culture where each person, irrespective of gender, can aspire to fair career growth based on performance and competence,” the statement read.
MTN Cameroon’s chief executive is a woman.
“This year’s International Women’s Day theme, #PledgeForParity, is an opportunity for women all around us, irrespective of background, ethnic origins, social circumstance or economic standing to be recognized for their individual accomplishments, merit and the contribution they make to our Society. This resonates with what we stand for, at MTN,” said Philisiwe Sibiya.
The company also announced a flexible work hours for its entire staff to choose works schedules that enable them balance work and personal family demands and still excel in their jobs.