Mumbai: Citibank has introduced a new work-from-home (WFH) option for female employees, allowing them up to 12 months of remote work after their 26-week maternity leave. Additionally, female employees can request three months of WFH during the final trimester of pregnancy, subject to review and approval. This new policy potentially extends the WFH period for expectant and new mothers to 21 months.
Citi India is among the first organizations to implement this WFH initiative linked to maternity leave, after the government’s advisory in 2021 encouraging companies to offer nursing mothers WFH for one year from childbirth. Incidentaly, ICICI Bank, under its former MD & CEO, Chanda Kochhar, had launched iWork@home an initiative that allowed one year WFH for women based on their requirements. The bank had built an in-house technology platform to measure performance.
This move aims to provide women with greater flexibility in balancing their family and career responsibilities. According to Aditya Mittal, chief human resources officer for Citi India & South Asia, the move will help retain female talent and support their career aspirations during a critical phase. “Research on women’s participation in the workforce indicates that women often take extended breaks during this phase, which impacts their careers and the representation of women in senior roles within organizations. We hope this will inspire more industry initiatives aligned with the government’s vision” he said.
“Citi’s support during this crucial time in my life is invaluable. It allowed me to fully embrace the joys and challenges of motherhood without worrying about my career. The peace of mind knowing that I could continue contributing to my job working from home made my transition into motherhood so much smoother,” said Megha Mangal, a digital software engineer in personal banking and wealth management who recently returned from maternity leave.
Citi has over 30,000 employees in India, of which 38% are women. According to the bank, the new policy will help ensure career continuity for women at Citi and further enhance the already strong representation of women in mid-senior/senior positions, which stands at 30%. Citi globally is led by Jane Fraser, CEO, the first woman to head the multinational bank, which is present in nearly 160 countries and jurisdictions.
In 2019, Citi was the first to disclose its unadjusted pay gaps for women and US minorities. In 2021, it was the first Wall Street bank to introduce flexible working models.