Family Leave: Inclusion in Practice

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People talk about tolerance in this world. They talk about how important it is to be tolerant of each other etc. I disagree. Tolerance, to my mind,  is just a basic condition for a half-decent society. It’s not the hallmark of an evolved social system or evolved human consciousness. If you’re aiming for tolerance, you’re setting the standards too low – you’re in “survive” mode, not “thrive mode”. Inclusion – now that’s something worth aspiring for.

InclusionHow is ‘Tolerance’ any different?

Where tolerance is a state of “putting up with”. Inclusion is a state of deep understanding and embracing the essence of other beings. It’s about acknowledging, valuing and celebrating differences. In this world with its bewildering diversity of life, inclusion is the key to a harmonious and joyful existence.

And that’s why I was smiling from ear to ear when our global CHRO, Olivier Blum announced our new Global Family Leave Policy, – a first-practice in our industry – which embraces different types of people, different choices, different lives and different stages in those lives. This is yet another authentic and resounding commitment by the organization, in alignment with our progressive D&I philosophy.

Family Leave Policies like never before

To help our people take the time they need to address different needs in their unique family systems, we have introduced a new, highly inclusive Family Leave Policy, which mandates minimum standards of fully paid leaves for different family needs. These standards will be adopted by us uniformly, across all the countries. In individual countries, we can exceed the minimum standards if we like, but the baseline is fixed for all.

This by itself is not what I love about the policy. What I love is that through this policy my organisation shows me that it has embraced the evolving concept and nature of the “family” itself. We are rooted firmly in the present and are adapting our policies joyfully to support the evolution of our employees’ personal contexts.Inclusion



A Quick Glimpse

If a family consists of two men and they have adopted a child, our Family Leave Policy makes it possible for the primary caregiver (assuming he is employed with us) to take 12 weeks of fully paid adoption leave (minimum standard). The same is offered to a woman who has had a baby or adopted a baby. We don’t care whether it’s a same-sex couple or not. We care about helping our employees to be there for their family and play the personal roles they have taken on. And we embrace their version of family, since its all the same to us.

Should a loved one fall ill, our policy offers 7 days of fully paid leave. This is the minimum standard available to any employee who needs to nurse their loved one back to health. If at some point, our employee confronts the death of a family member and pain of bereavement,  the policy extends 7 days of fully paid leave (minimum standard) to give them space to grieve and deal with the loss.

Through this policy, we’re giving our employees the flexibility and enablement to embrace different aspects of their lives with dignity and respect. Everyone in our Schneider Electric family gets this. No exceptions.

That’s what being inclusive is really about.

That’s what being Schneider Electric is really about.


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