Architect firm Atkins and its subsidiary company Faithful+Gould have changed their maternity policy to allow up to 14 weeks’ paid leave.
Its introduction was spearheaded by the Middle East Women’s Business Network (WBN), which was established to develop a corporate environment which will better enable women to achieve long term careers in the design and build industry.
Simon Moon, Atkins CEO in the Middle East, said: “We’re determined to create a truly diverse working environment where there are no constraints for talent to succeed.
“Historically maternity benefits in the region have given little flexibility about how or when new mothers will return to their jobs, so many feel there is little choice but to leave work altogether. This represents a needless loss of their skills and expertise, which we’re pleased to address through our new maternity policy.”
Atkins’ female employees will now be entitled to maternity leave with full pay for up to 14 weeks, including both pre and postnatal periods. Thereafter, they will also be entitled to take up to six months unpaid maternity leave, with the option of taking paid Keeping in Touch (KIT) days to remain in contact with their teams.
Kathleen McGrail (pictured), chairperson of WBN, added: “This is a major milestone for the business which will make a very tangible difference to the lives of our female employees and their families. Our aspiration to become an employer of choice for women is turning into reality, giving us a significant advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining female talent in the industry.”