At BW LPG, we value diversity in all its forms and are committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. Our collective sum of individual differences, knowledge and experience is not only a part of our culture, but also allows us to better understand and meet customer needs. It also allows us to create a workplace environment where employees can perform to their fullest potential, which ultimately drives better financial performance.
However, gender representation is a particular element of diversity that we support. The shipping industry has a disproportionate number of men, and it is important that we encourage more women to join the business. BW LPG is committed to fostering a safe and equal workplace for women at sea and on shore, and to support a barrier-free working environment.
In this regard, we have set aside resources to sponsor the cost of university education for female cadets, and have introduced a Maternity Leave Policy for our female seafarers. All these, so that women who choose a career at sea can look forward to a supportive work environment where Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging are emphasized.
In the Family Way
In a first for BW LPG, with effect from 1 October 2023, we have introduced a Maternity Leave Policy, reinforcing our commitment to the well-being and support of our seafarers and their families. These changes underscore our commitment to fostering an inclusive work environment.
When a female seafarer becomes aware of her pregnancy either onboard or during shore/study leave, she would be asked to confirm her wellness and pregnancy with a medical professional. If onboard, she will be disembarked at the next safe port of call as soon as possible and no later than the 26th week of pregnancy. She will then be entitled to her contractual pay for the rest of the contract period.
Maternity leave benefits will kick in a month prior to delivery, and last for six continuous months. Female cadets will also be entitled to six months of maternity leave; and instead of receiving their cadet stipend, they will be paid full wages based on the prevailing Total Entry Wage according to the national wage scale of her country of origin. This will ensure that female cadets are financially secure when onshore and can focus on caring for herself and her newborn.
Remaining a Part of our BW Family
We believe that our Maternity Leave Policy is another step in the right direction for the industry. For example, the terms under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of seafarers from some countries do not include maternity pay if a female seafarer becomes aware of her pregnancy while on shore. In what may be an industry first, we are also offering three months of basic wages in case of miscarriage, with the hope that this will support colleagues and families during a challenging time.
To help female seafarers to continue sailing, they are encouraged to return to sea 18 months after the birth of their child, where they will receive priority placement onboard vessels where possible and if vacancies are available.
Says Knut-Helge Knutsen, Vice President and Head of Technical, “We want our seafarers to see sailing as an attractive and long-term career option. At BW LPG, we are committed to providing a safe workplace, offering attractive advancement opportunities, and ensuring we regularly review our policies and benefits so that they support the wellbeing of our seafarers and their families. We hope that our new Maternity Leave Policy will encourage more women to join the seafaring profession.”
A seafarer faces unique challenges, one of which is to be away from family and friends for long stretches at a time. To attract talent – and especially women – to consider a career at sea, we now add a generous maternity leave policy in addition to other perks such as competitive remuneration and free and fast internet connectivity onboard, so that families are well supported financially and can remain connected online.