Vodafone Ireland leads the way with groundbreaking paid carer’s leave for employees

"Vodafone Ireland Leads the Way in Supporting Employees with Caring Responsibilities"

Vodafone Ireland has launched a new employee support program called ‘Caring for Vulnerable Others’. This program will provide additional support to employees who are carers, including ten days of paid leave and flexible working options. The program is not limited to employees caring for immediate family members, but extends to those who play a principal role in caring for any ‘loved one,’ including close friends or neighbors. This is the first program of its kind in Ireland, and it aims to help employees with long-term caring responsibilities to continue working.

Currently, statutory Carer’s Leave in Ireland provides between 13 and 104 weeks of unpaid leave for employees taking on a full-time caring role. Vodafone’s new employee support program will allow carers to take ten days of paid leave to meet the likes of hospital appointments and therapy sessions without having to take unpaid leave or time away from work. The ten days of extra paid leave equates to 75 working hours that can be taken flexibly.

Elaine Kelly, Large Business Propositions Manager at Vodafone Ireland, is a champion of the new support program. She is also a primary carer for her autistic son, Daniel. She said, “This kind of support will make a massive difference to me and my family. While Daniel was diagnosed at the age of four, the therapies required for him are ongoing, including intensive Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy, which generally take place during the working week. This new support comes at a great time and will give me the flexibility to choose therapy slots that suit Daniel and not the other way round.”

The new support program was underpinned by recent research from Family Carers Ireland. The research showed that of the carers in Ireland, 250,000 are juggling a career alongside their caring responsibilities. Over half (55%) of carers have been forced to give up full-time employment to care for a loved one. Half of carers say that their caring responsibilities are holding them back from promotion, along with 41% of working mothers saying that being a parent to a child with disabilities is holding them back from promotion.

Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy at Family Carers Ireland, said that Vodafone’s initiative “will provide employees juggling care in the home with their careers with a much-needed lifeline as well as great flexibility in terms of how and when they use these additional supports.” She encouraged other employers to follow suit with practical and tangible supports for carers.

The ‘Caring for Vulnerable Others’ support program is one of a range of supports introduced by Vodafone for employees at different stages of life. Other supports include 26 weeks of paid maternity leave and 16 weeks of leave for non-birthing parents. Vodafone also provides support around domestic violence, menopause, fertility treatment, and pregnancy loss.

Noelle Burke, HR Director at Vodafone Ireland, said, “Our people are our greatest asset, and we are committed to supporting them through all stages of their lives. We are delighted to launch ‘Caring for Vulnerable Others’ to provide additional support to our employees who are carers. We hope that this initiative will make a real difference to our colleagues and their loved ones.”

Vodafone Ireland’s new employee support program is a significant step towards improving the lives of carers in Ireland. It sets an excellent example for other employers to follow, and it will undoubtedly help to retain valuable employees who may have otherwise been forced to leave the workforce due to caring responsibilities.

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