Molson Coors introduces policy for new parents

Posted on 29 Feb 2024 by The Manufacturer

The brewer of major beer brands including Carling, Coors and MadrĂ­ Excepcional has announced a new UK Equal Parent Leave Policy which will entitle all new parents to up to 52 weeks of leave regardless of gender or path to parenthood.

Molson Coors will offer all new parents up to 52 weeks of leave, 26 of which are fully paid, and a further 12 weeks fully paid for neonatal care if needed. In addition, all parents will qualify for up to ten paid keeping in touch days and paid antenatal appointments, while those taking more than 26 weeks leave will qualify for a phased return to work for the first four weeks, working 80% of their hours while receiving 100% of their pay.

The brewery employs more than 2,200 people across the UK including at its manufacturing sites in Burton-on-Trent, Tadcaster, the Aspall Cyder House in Suffolk and Sharp’s Brewery in Cornwall. By introducing the new policy to enhance parental leave for all employees irrespective of gender, it is aiming to kick-out the ‘secondary carer’ label often given to those that can’t take more time off from the workplace.

The new policy is the latest step in Molson Coors’ ambition to become a more inclusive employer, following its decision last year to scrap CVs for certain roles to encourage a more diverse range of applicants. In 2019 the brewer also launched ‘life leave’, giving employees an extra two weeks of annual leave they can use for significant life moments like moving house or helping to settle a loved one into a new caring arrangement.

There are currently less than 100 companies in the UK and Ireland* that offer some form of gender-neutral parent leave that removes the principle of a primary and secondary carer, and only a handful of manufacturing companies, such as Molson Coors, which tend to have significantly higher numbers of men in their workforce.

Phil Whitehead, Managing Director, Western Europe at Molson Coors Beverage Company, said: “We’re always looking at ways to drive for more gender diversity at every level of our business, and to create a more inclusive and equitable work experience for everyone. Our new Equal Parent Leave policy is a really important next step to achieving those ambitions.

“At its most simple and powerful level, Equal Parent Leave recognises that parents should be able to choose how to care for their young children, rather than it being a decision made for them by their employers largely rooted in traditional assumptions about primary and secondary carer roles. One parent taking on the lion’s share of caring for children may be the right thing to do for many families, but I want it to be a choice – a positive choice that isn’t based on gender stereotypes or having to decide who is the primary or secondary carer.

“As a business that is part of a typically male-dominated industry, we have an opportunity to help breakdown those stereotypes and help to challenge the ‘secondary carer’ label -which is often taken on by new fathers. We want to make it easier for fathers to be able to take more time away from work as a new parent, because we know that by doing that, we are also helping to give mother’s more choice and families the opportunity to start that parenting journey on a more equal footing.”

Commenting on the new policy, Tommy Elliott, customer development executive at Molson Coors and dad to two young children, said: “I’ve been through those early years as a parent in that ‘secondary carer’ box so I know just how much this new policy will help new dads and parents. It gives parents a choice to do what fits best for the family.

“From a work perspective it takes the pressure off by having the flexibility to take the time you need to support your partner in those precious early weeks and months. It can be a big worry coming back to work after a couple of weeks and leaving your partner at home, so having the ability to take more of an equal role also helps from a mental health and wellbeing perspective.”

This year Molson Coors was recognised by the Top Employer Institute for the 11th consecutive year.  The business also received the MIND Gold Workplace Wellbeing award in 2022 and has partnered with ENEI (Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion), one of the UK’s leading employer networks, D&I in Grocery and WiTHL, which champions diversity and inclusion in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors, to help drive a more inclusive culture across its business.

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