- Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke told Fortune correspondent Susie Gharib that his company just approved a maternity leave policy for female employees that includes 14 weeks paid leave, a guaranteed job back and flexible work arrangements.
- Bulcke said some of the thinking behind the new leave policy regarded women’s ability to breastfeed their babies—something he and his company considers “the best way to get a good start in life.”
- The U.S. remains one of the only developed countries without a national paid maternity leave policy, though many companies are now instituting their own.
The focus on breastfeeding is consistent with Nestle’s brand and values—even their own baby formula brands state that “breastmilk is best for your baby.”
“We are a company that really supports breastfeeding as a good start,” Bulcke said. “We should allow mothers who are our employees to live up to that.”
But this statement is also in step with trends that seek to include and provide comfortable space for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. Interest groups argue this inclusivity will improve productivity, increase employee satisfaction and strengthen both company loyalty and community reputation
While behind some high-tech companies such as Facebook (16 weeks paid leave) and Google (about 20 weeks paid leave), as well as a few financial consulting firms such as Ernst and Young (a whopping 39 weeks of paid leave), Nestle’s 14 week policy establishes the company as a national leader on the issue of paid maternity leave.