Ford raises the maternity stakes by increasing pay

The EOC has urged UK employers to follow Ford’s lead after the company
announced it is to pay 100 per cent of salary for the entire 40 weeks of
maternity leave.

Ford claims the maternity package is the best in the UK and that it will
help it increase the proportion of women in its workforce from six per cent to
its target of 25 per cent by 2007.

Julie Mellor, chair of the EOC, said, "Ford’s new maternity policy will
help it recruit and retain staff.

"Many new mothers return to work earlier than they have to because
their drop in income is too sharp, which is why we would like to see maternity
pay linked to former earnings. This will enable women to take the time they
need after having a baby."

By law employers have to give staff on maternity leave 90 per cent of basic
pay for six weeks followed by £62.20 a week for a maximum of 12 more weeks.

Ford currently offers 90 per cent in the first six weeks then £120 for the
next 12 weeks and nothing thereafter.

Maria Antoniou, director of employee affairs at Ford of Britain, commented,
"This move makes Ford the leading employer in this area in the UK and
directly supports our objective of becoming an employer of choice.

"Ford’s investment is a significant one, but is well worthwhile to
ensure that we are able to recruit and retain skilled women."

The company is hoping the boost to maternity pay will help it increase the
amount of female designers and engineers that it employs.

Ford has employed a female graduate recruitment manager who will host an
open day where final-year female engineering students will be invited to spend
a day in one of the firm’s plants.

By Paul Nelson

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