KUWAIT/UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, June 8: Alghanim Industries announced that it is introducing improved policies to promote gender diversity across the GCC. The improved policies are applied and in effect across all Alghanim Industries departments and businesses in Kuwait, and now are being introduced across the company’s businesses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including Wendy’s franchising operation, Kirby Building Systems factory in Ras al-Khaimah, sales offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as KIMMCO sales office in Dubai. Alghanim Industries is one of the largest conglomerates in the Middle East, with more than 30 businesses in 40 countries.
These new policies, which reflect Alghanim Industries’ ongoing commitment to gender diversity, will provide the following in the company’s UAE businesses:
* Up to 90 days paid maternity leave (time can be used before and/or after delivery)
* Option to extend unpaid maternity leave for a total of 4 months
* Guaranteed two-hour nursing break during working hours, until child reaches the age of two
* Policies ensuring Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination in all aspects of employment
These policies are in-line with Alghanim Industries’ gender diversity agenda, which aims to increase the number of working women in the private sector. Alghanim Industries CEO Omar Kutayba Alghanim is the driver of this initiative, which he discussed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year; this same topic grounded his opening remarks at the ‘Women in the Corporate World’ Conference hosted by Alghanim Industries and Gulf Bank last month in Kuwait.
The Middle East gender gap is three times larger than most developed nations, IMF statistics show. These same statistics suggest, further, that if the gap was narrowed by just one-third, regional GDP would grow by 6 percent a year, which translates to a staggering $1 trillion annually. Alghanim Industries recently established a Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee to focus on these sorts of issues.
In addition to improved maternity benefits, the company has instituted a number of recruitment and retention policies that support women. The goal, in all cases, is to help make the corporate culture more appealing to women and their families. Commenting on this initiative, George Lambros, Alghanim Industries Chief Human Resources Officer, said: “Increasing our maternity leave benefits is just the first step. We continue to change and improve our policies to encourage the hiring and retaining of more women. Alghanim Industries is at the forefront of this pivotal issue, and we hope to drive positive change in all markets.”
Also commenting on the change, Phil Broad, Vice-President of Food and Beverage at Alghanim Industries, oversees Wendy’s Middle East, said: “We are delighted with this shift in policy, which further highlights Alghanim Industries as a forward-thinking company. Our approach to gender equality sets us apart in the region and gives us a competitive advantage in our ability to draw and employ women – half of the UAE’s talent pool. We will continue developing Wendy’s Middle East, ensuring that we provide our customers with the quality and value they deserve at the best prices.”
Alghanim Industries, which acquired the Wendy’s master franchise in 2015, currently owns and operates 17 stores in the UAE, and plans to open restaurants across the Middle East and North Africa regions.