Japan Tobacco International (JTI), the international division of cigarette manufacturing giant Japan Tobacco, announced this week that it has launched a global equal family leave policy for all of its 45,000 employees. The new leave plan, which becomes effective on January 1, 2021, offers a minimum of 20 weeks fully paid family leave for all employees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or whether employees become parents by giving birth or through adoption or surrogacy.
This policy goes beyond existing legal requirements in 80 percent of the countries where JTI operates, and puts it up close to the small handful of major international firms that allow both mothers and fathers a year's worth of shared paid parental leave. For comparison, a 2019 report by Equileap set the benchmark at 26 weeks for both parents and noted that only five of the 3,500-odd companies it had studied met that standard.
Christiane Bisanzio, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at JTI, said: "Men can still be stigmatized for taking time out of their careers. We aim to shift such perceptions in the workplace for both men and women, including their managers. With our new family leave policy, we embrace all parents as well as their choices and lifestyles."
JTI has implemented several gender-equal policies prior to this. In 2019, it became the first Geneva-based multinational headquarters to be certified as an equal salary employer by the EQUAL-SALARY Foundation, a Swiss non-profit organization that promotes equal pay between women and men. The same year, it launched a mentoring program aimed at giving women and LGBT+ employees equal access to career mentorship by top management. It has also been recognized by the Japanese government for encouraging women's success in the workplace.