BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Being a family-oriented company, Flow has announced that it has included paternity leave as part of its Parental Leave Policy making it one of few private companies to do so.
Sharisma Patrick, Marketing and Communication Executive at Flow, shared policy details. She said Liberty Latin America (LLA), also known as Cable and Wireless Communications and its subsidiaries recognize the importance of giving parents flexibility and time to heal and or bond with their new child and adjust to their new family situation.
“The Parental Leave Policy will be in effect following the birth of an employee’s child, placement of a child with an employee in connection with an adoption or foster care or birth of a child via gestational surrogacy,” said Ms. Patrick. “Parental leave refers to both maternity and paternity leave entitlements. Statutory Laws of 13 weeks paid maternity leave was always the practice.
“However, with the launch of our Paternity Leave Policy, expected mothers are now entitled to 16 weeks maternity leave, three weeks more than the statutory benefit,” said Ms. Patrick. “These 16 weeks are fully paid leave. Social Security pays 65 percent of their salary for the 13 weeks maternity leave and Cable and Wireless pays 35 percent of their salary for that period. So the employee receives 100 percent salary.”
Ms. Patrick noted that Cable and Wireless pays 100 percent of salary for the additional three weeks of maternity leave.
“Paternity leave was not a benefit for expecting fathers prior to the launch of its Parental Leave Policy on June 1, 2019,” she said. “Under the Parental Leave Policy expectant fathers are now entitled to eight weeks paternity leave.
“These eight weeks are fully paid leave,” said Ms. Patrick. “Paternity leave, however, should be scheduled and approved within the first month of birth and taken within the six months immediately after birth, adoption, or placement of a child with the employee.”
Ms. Patrick noted that paternity leave can be taken continuously or intermittently.
“If leave is taken intermittently, the intermittent leave period cannot be less than 10 consecutive working days,” she said. “Approved vacation leave can also be scheduled consecutively with parental leave, which includes maternity or paternity leave.”
Ms. Patrick said Flow believes that both mother and father should play a pivotal role in those most crucial first months of the child’s life.
“We factored in everyone, both fathers and mothers. Mothers do get more time, but we had to implement this so that fathers can play a more crucial role in the early stages of their child’s life,” said. Ms. Patrick.
Over 150 employees in 20 markets have already benefited from Flow’s new policy. This includes 105 male employees.
“Feedback on the policy has been extremely good,” concluded Ms. Patrick. “When asked about the most important benefit in taking parental leave, 66 percent said it was the time to build a stronger connection with their child.”