Shell ups the ante with minimum eight weeks paternity leave


The benefit applies across the board, to new dads, surrogacy, adoption and LGBT+ employees.

Employee benefits continue to be in the spotlight as human resources battle with skills retention, gender equity and the very real need for work-life balance.

The most recent differentiation-through-benefits HR approach is arguably the global minimum standard paternity leave offered by Shell.

In a broad departure from the norm, Shell announced it now offers a global minimum of eight weeks’ paid leave to all non-birthing parents, including new dads and parents welcoming a child through surrogacy or adoption, including LGBT+ employees.

According to Ronan Cassidy, chief human resources and corporate officer, every parent, no matter where they live, should be able to spend time with their new child.

“No matter if your child was born via surrogacy or adopted, or whether you are married or not, or from the LGBT+ community, it’s an important and special time and we want to support you [the employee],” he said.

The oil and gas company’s paternity leave approach follows in the footsteps of other “supportive policies” to attract and retain talent. This includes a global minimum maternity leave of 16 weeks and flexible working arrangements.

“The true hallmark of our progress is that inclusion is embedded in everything we do,” Ronan said.

Shell has a workforce of 82,000 employees with a gender split of 67 percent men, and 33 percent women. According to the company's annual report, Africa is home to 4,000 employees.

Under South African labour law, an employee is entitled to 10 days parental leave upon the birth of an employee's child. The same number of leave days are applicable when an employee legally adopts a child or is a prospective adoptive parent.

This is different to maternity leave, which is applicable when an employee gives birth to a child. Under those circumstances, the labour law notes that such an employee is entitled to four months unpaid leave.

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