Safaricom earns IFC praise for working mothers plan

Wednesday March 18 2020

Working mothers at Safaricom will also enjoy reduced working week at full-time pay. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has lauded Safaricom’s childcare programme for working mothers, as a best practice that promotes career growth.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group which focuses on the private sector in emerging markets, in 2016 partnered with 11 firms from across the world and launched Tackling Childcare, an initiative meant to promote better career opportunities for working parents. It is also meant to accelerate the spread of best practices for employer-sponsored childcare.

The Safaricom’s programme supports employees with children through on-site crèches, ‘bring your child to work’ policy, as well as additional paid maternity leave beyond the duration stipulated in the law.

Working mothers at Safaricom will also enjoy reduced working week at full-time pay, breastfeeding rooms, shift preference system at call centres, and on-site doctor and medical insurance.

IFC said business impact of providing childcare support include improved punctuality as well as reduced absenteeism and stress.

READ: Kenya women having fewest children in East Africa

IFC said Safaricom’s programme “demonstrates commitment to best practices in sustainable and responsible business, as part of the company’s overall sustainability initiatives.”

The global lender noted that out of Safaricom’s 5,000 employees, 51 per cent are women.

“Safaricom has been proactive in prioritising gender balance and a supportive work environment for working parents across the company. This approach to gender balance in the workplace stems from the company’s values and diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity for women and men,” said IFC report.

The private sector accounts for nine out of 10 jobs in developing countries, and this initiative is part of IFC’s broader effort to help firms address gender gaps in employment in order to drive gains in productivity, competitiveness and innovation.