A company is claiming success for its equal parental leave scheme after more than 700 took it up, including around 300 men, in the last year.
Aviva’s policy, introduced in November 2017, offers up to one year of leave to parents whether they are mums or dads. Twenty-six weeks’ is at full basic pay for each parent employed by the company within the first 12 months of a child’s arrival.
The company says almost every new dad employed by the insurer in the UK has opted to take more than the statutory two weeks of paid paternity leave, meaning the average number of paternity days taken by men at Aviva UK has increased by more than 14 times since the policy was introduced.
Two thirds (67%) of eligible fathers chose to take six months off work with their new arrivals and 95% took more than a fortnight. In the UK, around 500 employees have used the policy, including more than 220 men.
The policy has also enabled female Aviva workers to extend the typical time taken at the arrival of a child. Their paid maternity leave entitlement has increased from 18 to 26 weeks at full basic pay. The data reveals women at Aviva UK are taking a month longer for their maternity leave under the new policy (47 weeks compared to 43 weeks in the previous year).
Aviva’s figures compare to statistics for Shared Parental Leave which show only around 2% of eligible new parents across the UK have taken up the scheme since it was launched in April 2015.
Caroline Prendergast, Interim Chief People Officer for Aviva, says: “It’s plain to see how much mums and dads value the precious time with their families when a new child arrives. This is clearly reflected in our figures. When we introduced this policy, we wanted all of our parents to know they can take leave and still have a successful career, regardless of gender. The feedback from our returning parents has been fantastic. Many dads have said it’s helped them to understand what women have experienced for generations, so this fresh perspective is invaluable.
“If we are going a create diverse, inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive, we must avoid viewing people as just one thing – a woman, a carer, an older worker – and instead see the value they can add. By better understanding one another as employees, we can better understand our customers, so there are benefits all round. We want to create an environment where everyone is recognised solely for their talent. Our equal parental leave policy is just one example of what we’re doing to achieve this.”