Pregnancy discrimination is common in workplaces and Indonesian creative agency ROMP took it upon itself to change the culture within its own workplace. Its initiatives for working mothers helped it shine during the judging process for MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s Adland Diversity & Inclusion Index. As a company who prides in having 60% women in the workforce , ROMP pioneered a M.O.M.S programme, Mothers Overcome Maternity and Schooling, that is designed to support the health of expectant mothers, single and/or married working mothers, and provide financial aid for the children's education.
According to the agency, working women and mothers have always had it rough in Indonesia as they are often undermined and constantly challenged by societal expectations. In the advertising industry, where the working hours can get long, working mothers are often left with the dilemma to choose to have either a career or a family.
The M.O.M.S programme focuses on four key issues identified by the company related to working women and maternal health:
- Insurance companies in Indonesia do not consider pregnancy as a medical condition.
- While the law requires companies to provide maternal health benefits, most companies provide employees with a one-time maternity allowance in a lump sum, not end-to-end maternal health coverage.
- The Social Health Insurance Administration Body exclusively states that "The (working) husband is the head of the family"; therefore, he's entitled to get health benefits including maternity allowance for the wife.
- Many women have dropped out of the industry due to lack of support and benefits.
“Faced with unequal health welfare and the demands of work in the advertising industry, we believe it is our responsibility to take action,” said the agency.
It also claimed that this initiative is possible because of ROMP’s independent status and hence, it is not subject to any network intervention. Also, ROMP said no other agencies have a similar programme and its M.O.M.S programme reflects its genuine care for the overall well-being of working mothers in the ad world, acknowledging that women hold up half the sky.
Through the M.O.M.S programme, ROMP aims to address the issue of pregnancy discrimation. It identified four main issues related to working women and maternal health. Insurance companies in Indonesia, for example, do not consider pregnancy as a medical condition.
Meanwhile, although the law requires companies to provide maternal health benefits, ROMP said most companies offer employees with a one-time maternity allowance in a lump sum instead of end-to-end maternal health coverage. At the same time, Indonesia's social health insurance administration body exclusively states that "the working husband is the head of the family" and therefore, he is entitled to get health benefits, including the maternity allowance for the wife.
The challenges faced by women have led them to drop out of the ad industry due to the lack of support and benefits, hindering them from reaching their full potential.
With more than half of ROMP's employees being women, the agency wanted to address this issue and provide the means to support them so they can fulfill their ambitions.
ROMP’s M.O.M.S’s programme focuses on two points. Firstly, the coverage for women's health during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period and provide access to maternal facilities in the office. Next, is to provide subsidies for K-12 children enrollment, tuition fees and a scholarship opportunity for employee's children entering university. According to ROMP, schooling support is apparently not an industry practice.
More specifically, some of the list of support measures ROMP offers include full coverage for miscarriage unlike the industry standard of limited coverage, flexible working hours, as well as three months maternity leave which can be modified unlike the industry standard where the period is fixed.
Furthermore, the agency plans to add three facilities in the workplace that will take effect post pandemic, a nursing room, a proper separate storage place for breastmilk, and a daycare space.
ROMP compares its support measures for working mothers to the industry standards, where medical coverage, lab work and medication, miscarriage are fully covered. Moreover, ROMP female employees are entitled for subsidies in schooling support for their children, in enrollment and tuition. Maternity leaves and working hours are also flexible, granting a healthy work-life balance.
After the launch of the M.O.M.S programme in 2019, ROMP has managed to maintain employee retention rate of 90%. Despite the success of the program, ROMP aims to strive better, by continuing to listen, observe, and learn about how to mold a better, more empathetic workplace for employees.
“While the M.O.M.S programme has been received positively, this is only the start of our commitment in bringing other problem areas to light, and creating initiatives that will champion diversity and inclusivity in the company - hopefully serving as a beacon of inspiration for other companies to follow suit,” the agency added.
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