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Swedish automaker Volvo Cars last month announced the pilot of a gender neutral parental leave policy for sales employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mothers and fathers, same-sex parents, and parents of adopted children will all be offered up to six months of leave at 80% pay, a benefit the company says is the most generous and inclusive in the industry. The aim of the pilot is to address any practical issues that may emerge before rolling the policy out to all 43,000 employees globally.

Here’s why this should matter to everyone at your company:

💡Modern family. Volvo’s new policy is not only gender-neutral, it’s inclusive of same-sex and adoptive parents, and being rolled out across a range of countries with highly variable government policies on parental leave. That makes for a powerful statement of the values that sit at the heart of this move: values around inclusivity, diversity and equal parenting roles for all genders. Volvo Cars aren’t the only ones making noise on this front; take Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, who is calling for more equal parental leave options in the US. So a key challenge to take back to your organization: are your HR policies inclusive of all kinds of contemporary, diverse, modern families? Do they tell a positive story about the values at the heart of your business?

💡LEGISLATIVE BRANDS. Volvo says its policy was inspired by the national legislation in Sweden, but is more inclusive and generous. We’re seeing ever more examples of LEGISLATIVE BRANDS tackling issues traditionally left to government; just see Amazon introducing a new minimum wage for US employees, or Waitrose taking up the issue of plastic packaging. Increasingly, brands aren’t waiting for the government; they are taking action and setting expectations themselves. What issue should you LEGISLATE on in 2019 to help make the world a better place for everyone?

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