Vinted Extends Same-Sex Parental Benefits Beyond Statutory Limits
The technology company Vinted has updated and synced its parental allowance policy in all countries where it has offices. The move also addresses the issue of support for same-sex families. Vinted will provide them financial support that exceeds statutory limits. The company will pay the primary carers their full salary, or make up the difference between their salary and any income support received for the first 20 weeks, and secondary carers will receive the same level of compensation for 10 weeks.
“Until the rights of same-sex families are equal and legally recognised in Lithuania and elsewhere, private companies are taking the matter into their own hands. Vinted already gives the same benefits (days off, allowances, etc) to all families, whether they are a married man and a woman, two women who have exchanged vows abroad, or two men living together without official family status. As we’re expanding rapidly, we’ve taken this step to improve and standardise the parental benefits across all Vinted offices," says Monika Kalinauskaitė, Vinted Strategic Initiatives manager.
From now on, Vinted will compensate primary caregivers, such as birth mothers or adoptive fathers, for the first 20 weeks with the difference between their salary and Sodra payment. Secondary caregivers will be reimbursed the difference for 10 weeks, regardless of their family’s legal status: “Depending on the family model, we will encounter situations where the state does not provide financial support to one parent. In this case, we will pay the employee’s full salary for the period of time provided”.
According to Ms. Kalinauskaite, this model is particularly important for same-sex families in Lithuania: "If, for example, a two-woman family conceives or adopts a child, only the birth or adoptive mother receives official parental benefits from the state, with the second mother not being legally recognised by the state. This not only limits the amount of financial support for this family, as by law it only applies to the "legal" mother, but it also takes away the right to choose who will look after the child. After all, the birth or adoptive mother may want to continue working, while the mother who is not legally recognised by the state takes care of the child. However, the latter would not receive any state maternity benefits. With our benefits policy, we aim to create this opportunity of choice.”
Assess the needs of all
As Ms. Kalinauskaitė points out, when organisations think about working parents, they need to adopt a holistic approach and think about all the different family models and stages of child rearing. For example, a recent study published by the Lithuanian Diversity Charter found that one third of Lithuanians changed jobs after parental leave, mainly due to employer inflexibility. One in two employers did not ask returning employees about their changed needs, and a similar number did not offer flexible working hours.
"This shows that there are problems in Lithuanian society, not only in terms of financial support for same-sex families, but also in employer-parent relations. It’s important to maintain a relationship with employees on parental leave. For example - at Vinted, we invite, but do not require participation in our various internal events. It’s also important to understand that the needs of working parents change, which is why we offer flexible working options and children's playrooms in our offices,"says Monika Kalinauskaitė.
Evaluates the employer's position on human rights issues
As Rugilė Trumpytė - head of the Lithuanian Diversity Charter - notes, employees themselves have recently come to expect a clear stance on various human rights issues from their current or future employers.
"More and more people are choosing where to work carefully. In recent years, I have noticed a growing interest in social responsibility among employees. People are enquiring about their employer's stance on human rights issues and expecting them to be proactive. Businesses can create change without waiting for the law, and they have a lot of leverage. So I am glad that Vinted is showing leadership and making decisions not only for the well-being of heterosexuals, but also for the LGBT+ community," says Trumpytė.