Global minimum standard for paid maternity leave

Claire Punins and her husband Robin, holding their son James
Claire Punins, Exploration Geologist, her husband Robin, and their son James.

Downstream Executive Director John Abbott feels, “The true hallmark of our progress is that inclusion is embedded in everything we do. Offering paid maternity leave across Shell is good for our people and for our business, and, in my view, is simply the right thing to do.

External research shows that longer maternity leave positively impacts health for both mothers and children and supports earning power continuity for women. It’s no wonder that it also benefits companies by supporting attraction and retention efforts.

Adjusting to new experiences, routines and sleep schedules is more than enough to occupy your time when you’ve just had a baby. Uncertainty associated with taking maternity leave can sometimes add further challenges.

That’s why Shell was the first major energy company to introduce a new global standard of 16 weeks paid maternity leave. This initiative supports working mothers and their families, and highlights Shell’s commitment to creating an inclusive workplace.

“For Shell, this is a very significant step in the right direction for equality,” says Exploration Geologist (and proud mother) Claire Punins, who was a leading voice in the internal program to establish a global maternity framework.

“All women should receive the support they need as new mothers, regardless of where they are in the world. Having a global maternity standard at Shell is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes business sense. It makes us more attractive to women seeking jobs, and means they stay with us longer.”

While the standard explicitly addresses paid leave, Claire believes it also creates an opportunity for important conversations around what women experience in Shell prior to, during, and after their maternity leave.

As a dual-career family, returning to work after maternity leave was always in the plan for Claire. She says: “Nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming exhilaration and exhaustion of becoming a mother when my son James was born.”

Shell recognizes becoming a parent is an important moment in anyone’s life. Shell offers many resources to support you before, during and after your maternity leave; allowing you to take full advantage of the time to care for your new child and successfully adapt as you return to work.