EY extends parental leave benefits for its employees across MENA

10 August 2018 Consultancy-me.com

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.


Baghdad lands in at last on latest Mercer quality of living index

15 March 2019 Consultancy-me.com

Iraqi capital Baghdad has landed dead-last on Mercer’s latest quality of living cities index, listed below both Damascus and Sana'a in Yemen.

Among a survey of nearly 500 major cities worldwide by human capital consultancy Mercer, Iraq’s war-ravaged capital Baghdad has been deemed as having the lowest quality of living – behind even those still in the immediate grip of conflict, such as Damascus and Sana'a in Yemen. The 21st edition of the annual survey was again dominated this year by cities in the DACH region, with Vienna claiming the top spot for the tenth year running.

Taking into account a large range of inputs in categories such as the political and social situation, economic landscape, public services, housing, healthcare, education and the natural environment of cities around the world, Baghdad ranked last overall – immediately below Bangui of the Central African Republic and Damascus in Syria – despite the two being determined as the least safest cities on the planet for personal safety. In fact, the report noted Baghdad’s significant improvements in this regard.

The ten cities assessed as having the lowest quality of living globally were concentrated in the Middle East and Central Africa (with the exception of Haitian capital Port au Prince and Conakry in Guinea on the West African coast); Baghdad, in addition to Damascus and Sana'a, further joined at the bottom of the list by Khartoum (Sudan), N’Djamena (Chad) Brazzaville (Congo) and Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo).Baghdad lands in at last on latest Mercer quality of living survey“The security of the individual is informed by a wide range of factors and is constantly in flux, as the circumstances and conditions in cities and countries change year over year,” commented Mercer Prinicpal Slagin Parakatil. “These factors are crucial for multinationals to consider when sending employees abroad because they consider any concerns around the expat’s own safety and can have a significant impact on the cost of international compensation programmes.”

On the other end of the scale, the top ten cities for quality of living remain largely unchanged, with seven of those located in Austria, Germany or Switzerland (collectively known as the DACH region), while Dubai continues to lead the rankings for the Middle East, in 71st spot overall – despite remaining one of the most expensive cities worldwide on Mercer’s other noted cost of living index.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi, where Mercer itself recently launched a new office, follows closely behind Dubai in 78th, while Riyadh has climbed one spot to 164th, thanks in part to newly available options for entertainment, such as its landmark re-opening of cinemas across the Kingdom. Muscat (105), Doha (110), Amman (120), Kuwait City (126), and Manama (136) all fell in the middle, while Jeddah was just behind Riyadh and Beirut languishes in 184th, struggling to overcome Lebanon’s long-term economic woes and issues such as a failing waste management system.

“Strong, on-the-ground capabilities are integral to the global operations of most international businesses and are in large part driven by the personal and professional well-being of the individuals that companies place in those locations,” said Mercer’s Career business president and senior partner Ilya Bonic. "Companies looking to expand overseas have a host of considerations when identifying where best to locate staff and new offices.”