Seeing mothers at work is not a rare sight anymore. Yet, one of the biggest challenges for women at work is balancing their personal lives, particularly, if they are transitioning into motherhood or perform lead parent responsibilities at home. The career clock and the biological clock conflicts for women – when it is time to take on big challenges at work and step into uncomfortable positions that prepare them for senior leadership, it is also time for most women to build their families and have children.
As part of their commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), corporations have begun prioritizing work life balance and women’s representation at work. They do so by offering flexibility and undertaking initiatives to enable women to strike a balance between work and home. And when it comes to these efforts, Nestlé is at the forefront.
Empowering women is a key part of Nestlé’s approach, and we constantly review our policies to ensure they reflect inclusion for women at work. Our on-site residences for women, hostel facilities at factories, day care facilities, feeding rooms and driver’s allowances are just some of the initiatives that make work easier for women and particularly mothers.
Nestlé provides an inclusive infrastructure for working parents and enables them to strike work life balance
Head of Human Resources Nestlé Pakistan Hajra Omer highlights that these initiatives are not where Nestlé limits the support it provides to women who are also mothers.
There is a lot more we do to enable mothers to work. From our maternity policy to flexible work arrangement facility, daycare facilities at all sites, the ‘returnship’ program and conducive infrastructure, all work in tandem to ensure women can balance their role at home and at work with ease and succeed in both.Hajra Omer Head of Human Resources Nestlé Pakistan
Transitioning into Motherhood with a Break from Work
At Nestlé, we understand that the transition to motherhood is a special yet difficult one. Women need time to recover physically and emotionally as they take on a huge responsibility in their lives. Nestlé’s comprehensive maternity policy: a minimum of 6 months’ maternity leave that is above the ILO requirement, enables women to slowly ease into the new role without having to worry about work.
Amber Shahid, Costing Specialist who was able to transition into motherhood without any added worries about work due to Nestlé’s maternity policy highlighted that this policy is not just a leave but a comprehensive support system.
The Nestlé Maternity Champion Program helps combat challenges associated with their maternity journey through advice and coaching about handling pregnancy and office work together. It provides first-hand information on relevant policies and protocols that are extremely helpful.Amber Shahid Costing Specialist
Interestingly, Amber went on maternity leave only two months after joining Nestlé.
Yet, the company provided me with exceptional support by granting all the necessary maternity benefits despite being in my probation period.Amber Shahid Costing Specialist
Flexible Work Arrangement Policy
Nestlé Pakistan understands that mothers need support beyond the first six months as well. This is precisely why it drives the flexibility agenda forward through the “Flexible Work Arrangement policy”, which helps employees choose their own working hours and gives them the option to work remotely. Nestle also has an active Sabbatical program that allows women to take time off work for their personal development or education-related activities.
Maryam Khalid, Code Compliance Manager at Nestlé Pakistan benefited from the flexible work arrangement policy and would spare sometime from work every day to be around her children at the daycare.
The first few months, even after maternity leaves end are crucial for mothers and babies who are being exclusively breastfed. The flexible working hours gave me the ecosystem, I needed to balance the two demanding roles togetherMaryam Khalid Code Compliance Manager at Nestlé Pakistan
Welcoming Mothers Back to the Corporate World
For some women, a short break or a maternity leave doesn’t work when they transition into motherhood, and they need a longer break. Nestlé understands this and believes this should not put them at a disadvantage. This is the basis of Nestlé’s Returnship program titled the “Phir Se Kar Dekhao” program that enables women who have been on a long career break to return to the corporate world.
Fatima Saeed Butt, Recruitment Specialist who just joined Nestlé Pakistan as part of the “Phir Se Kar Dekhao” program mentioned that when she took a break from work, she assumed there may be no return as the corporate world is competitive and cutthroat.
I am extremely thankful to Nestlé Pakistan and its inclusive initiatives that give women a chance at every stage of their lives and careers. Due to this program, I have been able to transition back to work and regain my confidenceFatima Saeed Butt Recruitment Specialist at Nestlé Pakistan
Inclusive Infrastructure for Working Parents
While all these policies benefit working mothers, at Nestlé we believe our infrastructure needs to be inclusive to support working mothers and parents. All our sites, including factories, have day care facilities, where parents, not just mothers can leave their children during work hours.
Samara Baig, Safety and Environment Manager at Kabirwala Factory at the on-site daycare with children.
Samara Baig, Safety and Environment Manager at Kabirwala Factory admits that the facilities for working parents at the factory make it possible for her to do her job. “Working in a factory can be challenging for women in many ways but Nestlé’s inclusive infrastructure and day care facilities make it easy for us. I’m able to give my work full attention knowing that my children are in a safe and healthy environment”.
In addition to the day care facility, each site has a nursing room as Nestlé encourages breastfeeding and ensures mothers at the workplace can do so without any additional challenges.
Faryal Nathani, Category Media Manager, who leaves her children at the daycare facility mentioned that working post motherhood has been so much easier due to this facility.
I don’t have anyone at home to take care of my child while my husband and I are at work, and I cannot trust a nanny alone. The daycare facility at Nestlé is a safe space that is well equipped for my child’s needs. It’s also at the office premise, enabling me to visit multiple times during the day to supervise and check over. This really gives me the confidence to work in peaceFaryal Nathani Category Media Manager
These, along with many other initiatives, that make work ‘work’ for mothers, are in line with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: 5 – Gender Equality