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The telecoms group Vodafone is currently in the process of initiating an awesome global policy on maternity benefits, even in places they’re not required to do so legally, such as the United States.

According to reports, Vodafone will offer at least 16 weeks maternity leave (with FULL PAY, astonishingly) for all new mothers. But wait, it gets better, because once new moms return to work, Vodafone will allow them to work slightly reduced hours, but still with full pay for a full six months. Just how big of a deal is this? Really big! Maternity laws vary from place to place, but few countries offer benefits that allow moms to take maternity leave without stress, including the United States, which sadly is the one and only developed country with ZERO guaranteed paid leave for new moms.

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao, says in a statement, “Too many talented women leave working life because they face a difficult choice between either caring for a newborn baby or maintaining their careers… Over 1,000 women working for Vodafone in countries with little or no statutory maternity care will benefit from the new policy.” It’s not uncommon for larger companies to offer more extensive maternity leave plans than required by law, but the bare minimum that Vodafone is offering is very generous, even when compared to other large corporations. Vodafone operates in 30 countries across the world and about one-third of their employees are female, meaning quite a few women around the world will be eligible to benefit from this new maternity leave policy. If you don’t work for Vodafone, and you live in the U.S., learn how you can actually afford maternity leave.

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