Aberdeen Standard Life raises the bar on parental leave

Standard Life Aberdeen offers all staff up to a year off on parental leave and nine months on full pay.

Dad holding child's foot


Global investment company Standard Life Aberdeen has announced that from next year all its employees will be entitled to a year of parental leave and 40 weeks of full pay.

This is regardless of the gender of the parent and how long they have been at the company and includes parents who adopt or have a child by a surrogate.

Parents will have the option to take these 52 weeks as one, two or three periods of leave, over two years from the birth or placement. They will also be entitled to additional paid leave if they have a pre-term baby.

The company, formerly Standard Life, says the policy means that the primary caregiver does not have to share their entitlement and end their parental leave early.

If a baby is born premature, the policy also offers additional leave to cover the period between birth and 37 weeks.

The company says the new policy is flexible and allows parents to take the full 12 months off together or in up to three separate blocks over two years, “in a way that suits them, their family and career”.

Rose Thomson, Chief HR Officer at Standard Life Aberdeen, said: “Current arrangements – whether statutory or enhanced – can mean new parents have to make difficult decisions about who can afford to take leave, and whether one parent’s time with the child takes away from the other. We think that needs to change.

“We are a family friendly employer and our new policy represents a potentially life changing opportunity for new parents – whatever their family circumstances. We know that our people need to balance their work lives with their personal lives and this new policy is one example of the actions we’re taking to help them maintain that balance.”

Meanwhile, Vodafone has announced that it will offer parents 16 weeks of fully-paid leave to employees globally. Anyone taken parental leave will be able to do a gradual return to work, working the equivalent of a 30-hour week at full pay for six months following their return.

By the end of March 2021, it is aiming to make parental leave available to all non-birthing parents — regardless of gender, sexuality or length of service — across its 24 markets and operations in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the US.

And in early November Goldman Sachs announced that it was offering 20 weeks of paid leave for all parents. The policy applies regardless of whether they are the birth parent or not and the same policy applies to parents who have adopted or become parents through surrogacy. The 20-week policy is the bank’s minimum across all its territories. UK workers at the firm can take up to 26 weeks off. Goldman Sachs has also announced that it will cover up to £15,500 of the costs of extracting eggs or purchasing donated eggs which can help increase the chances of parenthood for same-sex couples, women who want to delay having children or others struggling to conceive.

Burberry has also confirmed that all employees will receive at least 18 weeks of leave when they have a baby or adopt a child from the start of April next year. The policy equalises all paternity, maternity, adoption and partner leave in the luxury fashion brand’s stores and offices around the world, attempting to create a simple structure for staff.

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