EY extends parental leave benefits for its employees across MENA

10 August 2018 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read

EY in the Middle East and North Africa has extended its parental leave benefits in an effort to promote greater gender diversity and workplace flexibility.

The new policy for Ernst & Young employees in MENA – covering the Big Four accounting and advisory firm’s offices in the GCC together with its operations in Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya – will see new mothers offered sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave along with a week of paid paternity leave for fathers.

In addition, EY in MENA will provide new parents with the option to extend leave for up to a year, with the firm expressing that the policy has been designed to allow for longer periods of parental bonding with newborns, while also empowering its staff to transition back into a flexible workplace which is accommodating of family needs.

Further, it’s intended that the new parental leave policy – which came into effect MENA-wide at the beginning of July and extends to parents welcoming a child through birth, adoption or surrogacy – will promote greater gender diversity in its workforce, with its female employees encouraged to return to the EY ranks and continue their careers after becoming parents.EY extends parental leave benefits for new parents across its MENA practice“At EY we believe a gender diverse workforce not only makes good business sense, but is an asset to the communities we live and work in,” EY’s MENA talent leader, Rachel Ellyard, said of the new scheme. “As a company that employs strong female leadership, we especially understand the significance of maternity leave and the role it plays in allowing women to build a strong foundation for their children and family life.”

Ellyard adds; “We extended the EY parental leave policy to help parents manage the new balance between career and family together… By creating an environment where women have the flexibility to manage their transition back to work and have greater control over their responsibilities, we hope to encourage more women to continue to expand their career opportunities within EY after becoming a parent.”

Support initiatives

In conjunction with the policy implementation for paid leave – which significantly extends parental benefits from ten weeks of maternity leave and just the single day for paternal absence – the firm will also provide additional support mechanisms for new parents, such as special arrangements for breastfeeding in the workplace and access to family coaching sessions, including specialised consultations for new fathers on managing work and life commitments.

EY in MENA will also be training its employees on how to support their colleagues with reintegrating into the workplace after an extended leave and adapting to the needs of new parents, while ‘keeping in touch’ days have been introduced for parents away on leave who wish to receive project updates from their team to better enable the transition back to work – with new parents being offered the option of an informal, flexible timing for that date of return.

“We are proud to raise the benchmark of parental leave offered in the MENA region,” Ellyard said in conclusion. “We hope to encourage our peers and set an example of a supportive and inclusive workplace.” EY’s MENA practice currently has 6,000 staff across its 20 offices in 15 countries, and recently introduced its successful Entrepreneurial Winning Women programme to the region to support talented female entrepreneurs with mentorship and guidance.