Fintech firm Lipa Later announces six months paid maternity leave
Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) company Lipa Later, operating in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda, said it will offer employees’ 6-month paid maternity leave effective 1 April 2022.
The company said the move is part of its campaign “to create a more inclusive and gender balanced workplace.”
CEO Lipa Later Eric Muli said, “We feel there is a need for women to be able to spend more quality time with their newborns and adjust into motherhood without the stress that comes with balancing both work and such a life-changing experience. As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we are proud to announce that all Lipa Later mums will get a 6-month fully paid maternity leave. We know this extra time will work better for the mother, the child and our organisation as mothers will come back adjusted and ready for work again.”
The company added that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there is clear evidence that during early childhood, the optimal nutrition provided by breastfeeding along with nurturing care and stimulation can strengthen children’s brain development with impacts that endure over a lifetime.
Lipa Later stated: “The global health agency notes that returning to work too soon is a barrier to the early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months and continued breastfeeding until they are two or older. This, it says, can boost children’s immune systems, shield them from disease and provide protection from Non-Communicable Diseases later in life.”
According to the company, less than ten multinationals have this policy in place with the most notable being EABL and Microsoft.
Kenya’s law currently allows a fully paid, three-month maternity leave and a two-week paternity break for fathers. Many companies frown upon these breaks, viewing them as an additional labour cost that sometimes forces them to hire temporary workers.
Kenya has high rates of child malnutrition. The 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) found that 61% of children under six months were exclusively breastfed, a sharp increase from 32% five years earlier.