Through our new paternity/partner leave policy, where fathers or partners are given the same amount of paid parental leave as mothers, Ascentic wants to lead the change toward a more equal and healthy IT industry in Sri Lanka.

Ascentic has been growing rapidly since its start in 2017, catering to the ever-increasing demand for IT skills in Sweden. From the start, founders Anna Kalm and Patrik Alm have had a strong focus on building a healthy and sustainable working culture and building an organization that can positively contribute to the progress of the Sri Lankan software industry. One key focus area has been to work for an increased gender balance – in an industry where today males make up 60% of the workforce.

For us, enabling our crew to combine a successful career with healthy family life is a main priority. We believe in taking care of those who take care of their families.

As a part of this ambition, Ascentic is now launching a new policy with increased paid parental leave for fathers and partners, unique in Sri Lanka. Sweden, the country of founders Anna and Patrik, is known for having the most generous parental leave policies in the world - a total of 18 months of paid leave for the parents to take - something made possible by the state paying the salary/allowance of the employee during that time.

In Sri Lanka, the employer bears the entire cost of a parent on parental leave, which adds limitations to how generous the leave policies can be. By law, you as an employer are obliged to give 84 working days off to the mother and none (yes, actually none) to the father in the private sector. Most companies provide only what is required in leaves, some a couple of days more, but in general - the father does not get many paid leave days to spend with their newborns.

With this context, Ascentic has decided to increase its paid paternity (or partner) leave to 84 days – i.e., the same as for the mother. For the organization, it's an important step in driving the industry toward better equality and employee health.

We hope that our new parental leave policy will have several positive effects, Anna Kalm says. It reduces the risk of mothers taking a greater share of the responsibility for home and children and allows for the fathers or partners to spend more time with their newborns. But we also hope that it contributes to an increased debate on what is required from companies to obtain a more equal labor market in IT. To see structural change, we have to be willing to put in the needed investment. This is our investment in changing the work lives of working parents for the better.