GENEVA, March 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Firmenich, the world's largest privately-owned perfume and taste company, is significantly extending its paid leave for all new mothers and fathers around the world. Launched on International Women's Day, the gender-neutral parental program, offers a global minimum of 16 weeks fully paid leave for the primary caregiver, as part of the company's commitment to offer a family-friendly environment, with equal opportunities for all.
"We want to make Firmenich the best place to work, and the most family-friendly company, in our industry and a big part of this is encouraging a culture where both men and women can thrive," said Gilbert Ghostine, Chief Executive Officer. "Our extended parental leave is designed to support all of our colleagues, regardless of their gender or how they became a parent, so that together they can give their child the best start in life."
Starting this year, Firmenich is offering leave to parents for both childbirth and adoption. This lets colleagues, whether new fathers or mothers, take 16 weeks of paid leave if they are the primary caregiver, and two weeks of leave for secondary caregivers. Unless local laws offer more generous terms, this is a global company-wide minimum standard.
"As a family-friendly company, we are very proud of our ability to hire and most importantly, accompany the very best people in our business along their individual journey in life," said Mieke Van de Capelle, Chief Human Resources Officer at Firmenich. "With 93% of new mothers staying with us after maternity leave, the case is clear for going beyond traditional maternity leave to offer gender neutral parental benefits. Our new extended leave builds on Firmenich's broad support system, including flexible working arrangements, gender equal pay, and inclusive development and promotion practices."
Committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, in December 2018 Firmenich became the first company in its industry, and one of only seven multinationals worldwide to be globally certified as a gender equal employer. Going well beyond equal pay, this gender parity certification by EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality), is the leading business standard for workplace diversity worldwide. This year, Firmenich also launched flexible working to give its colleagues more choice in their work hours to best balance professional and family commitments.
Parental leave varies widely between countries and will, thanks to this program, increase in a majority of Firmenich's markets. In Mexico and Indonesia for example, paid leave for primary caregivers will rise from 12 weeks to 16 weeks, while in India, a secondary caregiver is now entitled to two weeks rather than two days. In the UK employees have the right to take up to 52 weeks of parental leave, the first ten weeks of which are fully paid. Today's initiative adds another 6 weeks of paid leave to a new mother's entitlement. Special conditions apply in the United States, with paid parental leave up to 12 weeks.
The flexible family program at Firmenich also offers parents care before and after the birth of a child, including adjusted working conditions for pregnant colleagues, breastfeeding support and protected jobs for up to four cumulative months.
Firmenich is the world's largest privately-owned perfume and taste company, founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895. Driven by its purpose to create positive emotions to enhance wellbeing, naturally, Firmenich has designed many of the world's best-known perfumes and tastes, bringing delight to over four billion consumers every day. Renowned for its world-class research and creativity, as well as its leadership in sustainability, each year, Firmenich invests 10% of its turnover in R&D to understand and share the best that nature has to offer responsibly. Firmenich had an annual turnover of 3.7 billion Swiss Francs at end June 2018. More information about Firmenich is available at www.firmenich.com
 Special provisions apply in the United States