Introduced in April, it entitled her to 18 weeks of leave, and a return to work with 20% reduced hours at full pay for six months.
Now back at work as Global Talent Deployment Manager in APM Terminals in The Netherlands, Gonzalez has opted to use her reduced hours to spend Thursdays at home with her four-month-old son, Diego.
“Usually, on weekdays I come home and put him straight to bed, so it means a lot to be able to spend an extra day each week with my son, while still being able to continue with my career. It has improved my work/life balance and has given me more time to see him grow,” says Gonzalez.
“My manager has been very supportive. We worked together to agree on how to make it work for me and the business. I think it requires flexibility on both sides.”
Good business sense
The new policy is designed not only to make life easier for new parents; it also makes good business sense. A study of 76 countries across the Group revealed that between 2012 and 2014, roughly a third of women left Maersk after having children. Approximately 80% did so within the first 12 months of their return from maternity leave.
Maersk aims to reach a global best practice maternity retention rate of 90%. “If we hit that ambitious target, it would mean a modest saving for Maersk, while at the same time, giving mothers more time to spend with their new-borns in those first crucial months,” says Rachel Osikoya, Group Head of Diversity and Inclusion.
“I come from Mexico where the standard maternity leave is just 40 days after birth and there is still no concept of part-time work, so this is a very welcome policy for me,” adds Gonzalez. “It’s a good message for Maersk to send that it values working mothers. The challenge is to implement it without impacting the careers of the female workforce.”