Spanish banking group Santander is introducing a new parental leave policy, offering mothers at least 14 weeks of paid leave and secondary parents a minimum of four weeks.
Although the new parental leave scheme will apply to all new parents working for the Group across the different geographies where it is present, it will suppose an improvement just for the firm's employees of eight countries.
The new policy will lead to an increase in maternity leave for Santander employees in Argentina, Mexico and the US. In the case of secondary parent leave, employees of Santander in Brazil, Chile, Portugal, Poland, Uruguay and Mexico again, will see the increase of full pay days.
This new minimum standards will be implemented globally over a three year period depending on the markets. In the case of secondary parental leave, it can be taken in a single period or divided into periods of 15 days each until the child is one year old.
Santander outlined in a statement that in those markets where the regulations were more beneficial than the common group standards, these will apply.
The bank also said that it had implemented this new policy to push for its goal of increasing the number of women in senior roles from 23% (at the end of 2019) to 30% by 2025.
The company added: "Santander is committed to maintaining fair pay practices, and has a target to eliminate our calculated equal pay gap by 2025 (already 2%), with actions in place to reduce this each year, as well as being among the top 10 companies to work for in the majority of its markets by 2021."
Ana Botín, group executive chairman, said: "Getting the balance between family life and work can be tough, and we want to help our employees get that balance right. This shows our commitment to supporting them, and to fostering diversity and equality. There's still more to do, but this is an important step in the right direction."
In line with Santander's measures to promote diversity and inclusion, the company says it has taken an additional step forward in its diversity commitment by recommending that countries with legal requirements to employ disabled people meet or exceed the regulatory demands by only effectively hiring employees with disabilities rather than complying with the obligation to do so through financial contributions.
It added: "In the case of markets where there is no legal quota, the Group recommends to reach or increase by one percentage point the number of employees with disabilities."