Diageo have recently placed themselves as firm leaders in the parental leave equality realm, with an updated parental leave policy that offers 26 weeks of paid leave to all new parents. This encompasses anyone that has a new baby, including adoptive or surrogate. Impressively, it is also open to any employee, regardless of their time at the company – employees are eligible from day one of their Diageo employment.

The labels of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ carers have also been removed, making it equal to both men and women as parents or carers.

Kiri Stejko interviews Diageo’s HR Director, Geraldine Joanes, and employee Matt DerSarkissian, about the new policy in this podcast.

Geraldine explains that the policy is all about putting family first.

“We thought about what is going to change the game,” Geraldine says. “And what is it that is going to stop this ongoing conversation about women having babies, and move it to something completely different – about families having children, and how do we support that”.

Matt recently took parental leave as a new father, and works flexibly with his new dual responsibilities at home and at work. He says that the policy has Diageo employees excited. “There hasn’t been a cultural change,” he explains. “This is just a bigger opportunity to keep having the culture that we already have. This helps not just mums, but dads who can now take a sizeable chunk of leave to spend time with their kids, when traditionally they wouldn’t have.”

“[My taking leave] also has had a huge effect on my wife’s career,” Matt continues. “It has a solid impact on quite a few people”.

Listen more as Geraldine and Matt discuss the new policy and impacts of it in the podcast below.