Microsoft on Wednesday informed its employees in Nigeria that it was enhancing its family leave benefits to ensure that they had adequate time to care for the people who matter most in their lives.
The company stated that it had increased maternity leave to 20 weeks paid at 100 per cent and paternity/parental leave to six weeks paid at 100 per cent.
The Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso, said, “This will ensure that all new parents will have time to bond with a new child, whether through birth or adoption.
“Microsoft is committed to driving a culture of diversity and inclusivity across our company, and providing leave benefits to both mothers and fathers is one of the ways we support that culture.”
Banuso added that the company introduced a new caregiver leave benefit, “which is four weeks of paid leave at 100 per cent to take care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition.”
Reacting to the development, the organised labour in the country commended the initiative by Microsoft, saying that it would help working mothers and fathers alike “to become more productive at work and readily available for their children and loved ones.”
Speaking with our correspondent, the Secretary-General, Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Peter Ozo-Esan, called on other sectors to emulate the Microsoft example, with a pledge that the NLC would commence a nationwide campaign soon.
He said that it was only the food and beverages sector that had managed to initiate increased maternity leave time and allowances in the past.
“With a technology company like Microsoft taking the lead and even going ahead to implement it, then we will begin now to push for it across the sectors. It must become a movement across the sectors,” Ozo-Esan added.
Two years ago, a consulting company, Deloitte, said its employees would get 16 weeks of paid family care leave. In February of this year, Facebook expanded its employee benefits to include 20 days of paid leave to grieve the loss of an immediate family member and up to six weeks of paid time to take care of sick relatives.
Industry players said that several tech companies outside Nigeria offered unlimited paid time off or discretionary time off that could be used for family care, noting that LinkedIn, the business focused social network, which Microsoft bought last year, had offered its United States employees six weeks of paid family care leave since 2014.