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By 6 January 2020 | Categories: news

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today announced that, as part of their Work That Fits Your Life program, the rollout of a number of new employee programmes to enrich personal wellbeing and work/life balance. More specifically, HPE employees in South Africa are now benefiting from the introduction of 26 weeks of paid leave for new parents—both mothers and fathers—as well as parental transition support, retirement transition support and Wellness Fridays.

According to the company, HPE is “taking initiative with innovative new policies on both paid parental leave and flexible working arrangements in recognition of the importance of equal parenting and the role that workplace culture can play in supporting it.”

To this end, HPE enhanced the Paid Parental Leave policy to allow new parents, with at least one year of HPE service, to benefit from 26 weeks of paid leave within the first 12 months after the birth or adoption of a child - an increase in paid leave of 13 weeks for mothers and 24 weeks for fathers in South Africa.

The company has further implemented Parental Transition Support which is a flexible work arrangement policy that offers new parents the opportunity to work part time for up to 36 months after the birth or adoption of a child.  

As research shows parental bonding is essential for the wellbeing and future health of a child, supporting new parents is more important than ever. Both new policies demonstrate the value HPE places on creating a culture of “work that fits your life” and a gender balance that creates equal opportunities at home and in the workplace.

“At HPE in South Africa, we want all of our employees to be reaching their full potential in their careers. That means supporting them as they grow their families as well,” said President Ntuli, Managing Director of HPE South Africa, “We are very proud to be rolling out this global initiative for our employees. By investing in our highly skilled and motivated workforce, we will cement HPE’s position as an employer of choice globally and here in South Africa,” he added. 

In addition to the extended paid parental leave, HPE announced further benefits and innovative career support options that will be offered to its workforce in South Africa: 

  • Support for existing families: Eligibility for the extended paid paternal leave benefit is being retroactively applied to parents with children born or adopted on or after May 1, 2019.
  • Parental Transition Support: New parents will be given the opportunity to work part time, for three years, following the birth or adoption of a child. It provides employees more time to bond with their new child and also helps them transition back to work.
  • Retirement Transition Support: Employees approaching retirement will be given the opportunity to work part time to help adjust to the lifestyle changes of retirement while transferring their knowledge and/or serving as a mentor to other HPE employees.
  • Wellness Fridays: As part of the global wellness and work/life balance initiative, employees are encouraged to leave the office three hours early one Friday each month to volunteer, focus on physical or emotional health, or spend time on personal or career development.

“As this competitive benefits package shows, HPE’s working culture values employees’ lives both inside and outside of the office,” said Kim Field, HR Director, HPE. “HPE is a leader in employee care globally. By focusing on wellness and flexibility we are able to provide a working environment where staff are able to develop and thrive even in times of transition at home.”

Clearly, the company has thrown down the gauntlet to large organisations in South Africa to engender work life balance more demonstrably. The question is whether other large enterprises will heed the call and how.

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