Male employees of Diageo Ireland will soon be able to avail of 26 weeks fully paid paternity leave.

The drinks company says that the new leave policy is part of its efforts to create a fully inclusive and diverse workforce.

Its new global policy guarantees all its female workers a minimum of 26 weeks full paid maternity leave.

A global minimum standard of four weeks paternity leave is also being set, but in certain markets, including Ireland, 26 weeks fully paid leave will be on offer to new fathers.

The leave will have to be taken within the first twelve months of a child’s life.

Last month the firm announced that all its employees in the UK would be eligible for the same fully-paid 26 weeks, including benefits and bonuses.

Companies are increasingly coming under pressure to improve their policies to make them more family friendly, in order to attract and retain talent.

New rules are due to come into effect here later this year, offering parents an extra two weeks’ paid leave at €245 per week during the first year of a child’s life on top of existing entitlements.

Parental leave for parents of eligible children will also increase from 18 weeks to 22 weeks from September 2019 and from 22 to 26 weeks from September 2020.

The age of children that parents can take parental leave for will also rise from 8 to 12 years of age.

The new Diageo Ireland policy kicks in here on the 1st of July and applies to all those working for the firm here, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or how people become parents – via birth, adoption or surrogacy.

"Today’s announcement is a significant step for us and shows our commitment to leading the way with progressive employment policies by supporting gender equality in the workplace," said Oliver Loomes, Diageo Ireland Country Director.