Faithful+Gould and Atkins have taken a major step forward in their goal to become employers of choice for women in the Middle East after changing their maternity policy to allow up to 14 weeks' paid maternity leave. Its introduction was spearheaded by the Middle East Women's Business Network (WBN), which was established by Faithful+Gould and Atkins to develop a corporate environment which will better enable women to achieve long term careers in the industry.
"This is a major milestone for the business which will make a very tangible difference to the lives of our female employees and their families."
Kathleen McGrail, Atkins Acuity Programme Director and Chairperson of the WBN
We're striving to create a diverse working environment, as we believe that by allowing for different attitudes and approaches within the workplace, we are better equipped to provide our clients with the best of service. Historically, maternity benefits in the region have given little flexibility about how or when new mothers will return to their jobs, so many feel there is little choice but to leave work altogether. This represents a completely needless loss of their skills and expertise, which we're pleased to address through our new maternity policy.
Our female employees will now be entitled to maternity leave with full pay for up to 14 weeks, including both pre and postnatal periods. Thereafter, they will also be entitled to take up to six months unpaid maternity leave, with the option of taking paid Keeping in Touch (KIT) days to remain in contact with their teams.
Kathleen McGrail, Atkins Acuity Programme Director and Chairperson of the WBN, added: "This is a major milestone for the business which will make a very tangible difference to the lives of our female employees and their families. Our aspiration to become an employer of choice for women is turning into a reality, giving us a significant advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining female talent in the industry."
One of the first women to benefit from the policy change is Renu Chandna, a Dubai-based project manager. She said: "This is one of the best changes that the WBN has put in place showing value to women within the workplace as no other company has done it within the United Arab Emirates so far. It's such an achievement for Faithful+Gould and Atkins to take this major leap forward in the wellbeing of its employees and giving them the opportunity to have a better work-life balance."