NAIROBI, KENYA: Microsoft has announced a five-month paid maternity leave for female employees in its Kenya office, a new arrangement that almost doubles what many local companies offer.
In most Kenyan companies, a female employee is entitled to three-month paid maternity leave while male employees do get two-week off to bond with newborn babies.
In a statement, the company also adjusted male employees’ paternity leave to six weeks.
While the extended leave of beyond three months and six weeks may be unique to many developing countries, the trend is gaining momentum in developed countries.
In the year 2015, another Software Company Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE.O) said it is doubling the maternity leave it grants, making it the third company in the U.S. technology industry in to give new parents more paid time off.
New mothers at the California-based firm receive 26 weeks of paid leave, up from 12 weeks, and primary caregivers and new parents will get 16 weeks of paid parental leave.
"We join an industry movement to better support our employees while striving towards increased workforce diversity," said Donna Morris, Adobe senior vice president of People andPlaces.
Netflix announced that its employees could take up to a year of paid maternity or paternity leave in the first year after the birth or adoption of a child. It also offered the flexibility of returning to work full or part time.
The move was seen as a game changer in the United States, which lags other developed countries in the amount of parental leave offered to employees. Paid maternity leave in the United States is usually about 30 days, according to Mary Tavarozzi, a senior consultant with benefit consultant group Towers Watson.
In countries such as Kenya where many companies are looking for opportunities to cut cost, it is a wait and see if the trend of enhancing both paternity and maternity leave days will catch up with indigenous companies.