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Novo Nordisk Foundation increases support for parental leave to promote diversity and equal opportunities

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has decided to reimburse the extra costs institutions incur when Foundation grant recipients take parental leave. The aim is to promote diversity and equal opportunities for everyone in the labour market.

In Denmark, leave in connection with the birth of a child can pose a financial challenge for research institutions.

The institutions are burdened with additional salary costs since these are only partly reimbursed by the Danish state. Women in Denmark more often take most of this leave, and this can potentially result in unequal opportunities to maintain a research career. These factors could negatively affect gender diversity in the research community in Denmark.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has therefore decided that hospitals, universities and other institutions can apply for funding of the additional expenses they incur for leave in connection with the birth of a child for all grant recipients and all personnel employed in Denmark with salary covered by a Foundation grant.

The scheme will offset the difference between the salary of the grant recipient on leave and the reimbursement received from the Danish state.

“The Novo Nordisk Foundation strongly focuses on promoting diversity, including gender diversity. Through this initiative, we aim to contribute to a situation in which everyone has equal opportunities to pursue a career at their workplace,” says Søren Nedergaard, Chief Operating Officer, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The scheme will apply to all persons, both women and men, employed at an institution in Denmark during the entire leave period whose salaries are wholly or partly covered by a Foundation grant.

“Parental leave is one of the factors that results in inequality in workplaces, since women end up lagging behind on both salary and pension contributions. We want to change this,” says Petrina Knowles, Senior Vice President, People & Organisation, Novo Nordisk Foundation and Novo Holdings.

Institutions may request these grants for grant recipients and personnel on leave from 1 October 2021 and thereafter.

To be reimbursed, an institution must submit an account to the Foundation at the end of the parental leave period and request a parental leave grant, which will be paid as a supplement to the original grant.

Since 2019, the Foundation has covered additional expenses related to salary paid for parental leave for recipients of a fully funded personal PhD scholarship or postdoctoral fellowship.

Global focus on diversity and equal opportunities
Novo Holdings, which manages and invests the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s assets, also focuses on promoting diversity and equal opportunities. For example, Novo Holdings has thus improved opportunities for parental leave for employees with non-traditional families to ensure that new parents – regardless of the type of family – have the same opportunities as traditional families.

“We want to be on the frontline as an organisation and strive to be a sustainable workplace, creating an environment in which employees can develop themselves and pursue a long career, even as their family conditions change,” says Petrina Knowles.

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, Novo Nordisk Foundation, +45 3067 4805, [email protected]