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Volvo to offer 24 weeks paid parental leave starting in April

The company's parental leave program would also be available to adoptive, foster care and surrogate parents, as well as non-birth parents in same-sex couples.

WASHINGTON — Car manufacturer Volvo announced on Tuesday that it plans to offer all its employees 24 weeks of parental leave.

The new "Family Bond" policy, which goes into effect April 1, 2021, will give employees who have worked for the company for at least a year 80% of their base pay by default for 24 weeks. Volvo said in a press release that the policy applies to either parent and the leave can be taken anytime within the three first years of parenthood.

The Swedish company said it's new global policy was more inclusive and supportive than any existing policies around the world. The parental leave would also be available to adoptive, foster care and surrogate parents, as well as non-birth parents in same-sex couples.

“We want to create a culture that supports equal parenting for all genders,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo chief executive. 

Credit: AP
In this Feb. 6, 2020 file photo a Volvo car is parked behind the Volvo logo in the lobby of the company's corporate headquarters, in Brussels. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

"When parents are supported to balance the demands of work and family, it helps to close the gender gap and allows everyone to excel in their careers," he added. "We have always been a family-oriented and human-centric company. Through the Family Bond programme, we are demonstrating and living our values, which in turn will strengthen our brand.”

Volvo said by implementing this new policy it's aiming to create a new "norm."

"We want to lead change in this industry and set a new global people standard," said Hanna Fager, Volvo's head of corporate functions. "By opting all our employees into paid parental leave we narrow the gender gap and get a more diverse workforce, boosting performance and strengthening our business.”

At the beginning of March, Volvo also announced it would only make electric vehicles by 2030. The Swedish automaker said that it is phasing out the production of all cars with internal combustion engines — including hybrids.

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Volvo’s announcement follows General Motors’ pledge earlier this year to make only battery-powered vehicles by 2035.

Volvo also said that, while its all-electric vehicles will be sold exclusively online, dealerships will “remain a crucial part of the customer experience and will continue to be responsible for a variety of important services such as selling, preparing, delivering and servicing cars.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.