General Mills expands its enhanced shared parental leave and other benefits

General Mills, the global food company, today announces changes to its UK and Ireland employee benefits plan designed to support families facing life-changing events such as childbirth, adoption and pregnancy loss. 

These commitments are part of General Mills’ ambition to be the most supportive business of parents and carers in the food industry. Policies designed to create a more inclusive business involve:

  • Enhanced shared parental leave: Expanding Shared Parental Leave allowing new parents – including fathers, same-sex couples and those adopting, – to take up to six months full paid leave.
  • Flexibility around fertility matters: Recognizing that infertility can affect many couples, General Mills is expanding its policies to allow flexibility during rounds of IVF treatment. 
  • Pregnancy loss support: Updating current policies so that either parent will be entitled to up to two weeks of full paid leave when dealing with the trauma of pregnancy loss at any stage of pregnancy. Employees will also have General Mills’ support beyond this period if needed.
  • Carer’s Policy launch: One in seven employees in the UK act as a carer to someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill. Considering this and the impacts of the pandemic, General Mills will be launching a dedicated Carer’s Policy which will allow employees who are carers to request up to six months unpaid leave, in addition to 5 days paid emergency leave.

Ben Pearman, managing director of General Mills UK and Ireland said: “As a parent, I understand the joy but also the huge disruption and challenges that a new addition to the family can present.

“By enhancing our parental leave policies, we hope to encourage men to take their entitled time off without having to worry about the financial long-term effect of this. Through policies like these, we want to ensure that we are actively evolving as a company to be more inclusive, especially when it comes to gender parity and leveling the playing field from a gender perspective.

“General Mills wants to do everything we can to support any of our colleagues through these and other pivotal life events, regardless of whether or not they are the primary carer. We hope that these changes will continue to drive our ambition to be the most inclusive and supportive business in our industry.”

Aaron Lamers, human resources director for Northern Europe at General Mills, said: “We are incredibly proud to be announcing a variety of policies that will ensure further support to our employees and will allow us to continue creating an undeniable culture of belonging. 

“Our policy changes now allow all parents to share paid parental leave with their partners. This is important because we have found that our men in particular have not been taking parental leave – under this policy they can now enjoy and play a more active role in the life-changing journey of their child’s first year. It’s been such a tough time recently, so it’s great to enable our new parents to be together with their families more from the start!

“From enhancing our parental leave to supporting our employees through pregnancy loss, we are one of the biggest supporters of parents and caregivers in our industry, regardless of gender. As such, it is important that we continue enhancing our policies to support equality and inclusion in the workplace.”