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Insurance company Zurich’s equal parental leave policy – which offers 16 weeks at full pay – has resulted in 78% of new dads taking at least three months off with their newborns.
More than three quarters of new dads at insurance company Zurich are taking at least three months of paternity leave, with the company offering 16 weeks’ leave at full pay, according to new figures.
The figures show 70% of new dads are taking the full 16-week paid leave while 78% are taking at least three months.
The company compares this with figures from an external poll it has conducted which shows two fifths of new fathers don’t take the amount of paternity leave that they feel they need to bond with their new children, with almost half of dads who didn’t take any time off saying it was because they couldn’t afford to take a drop in their salaries as they would only receive the statutory amount of £151.20.
Statutory paternity leave is up to two weeks at the statutory rate and Shared Parental Leave is also at the statutory rate with low take-up being put down in part to the financial impact of taking time off.
Zurich’s research also showed that more than one in four fathers put their careers on the backburner when starting or growing their family, as juggling the demands of parenthood as well as career progression was just too challenging. This compares to nearly one in five of new parents at Zurich who are in senior roles, of whom 67% took the full 16 weeks paid leave.
Zurich is also calling for the Government to make the publishing of family-related leave and pay mandatory.
Steve Collinson, Zurich’s Head of HR said: “The reaction we’ve had from parents about our gender-neutral family leave policy has been overwhelmingly positive, with the majority of parents telling us of their intention to take the full 16 weeks leave. This forms part of a broader approach to family friendly working and flexibility for parents and carers.
“It’s 2020, family life has moved on, and our approach as employers must too. By enhancing statutory provision for all parents, we are supporting them in playing a more active role in family life. To allow more families to benefit, we would urge Government to enhance the statutory pay for fathers and second parents, which in turn will shift the dial and encourage more employers to follow suit.”
Zurich launched its new ‘family friendly’ policies last September, including an equal parental leave policy which offers up to 16 weeks full pay for all parents. Other policies include support for families whose children are born prematurely with additional paid leave for the premature period; paid leave to support people through the IVF process; paid leave to support people with miscarriage; a refreshed policy for those with caring responsibilities; and a new bereavement and compassionate leave policy.
Hannah and James Williams both work for Zurich. James is a project manager and Hannah is an executive assistant. Their daughter was born in April and they both took the full 16 weeks paid leave together.
James said: “The family friendly policy really helped us through lockdown, we weren’t able to have friends or family visit in those first few months, it was just the three of us together. Being able to concentrate solely on the family without having to worry about work pressures made a huge difference to us. Whilst lockdown has been pretty horrible for lots of people, due to the family friendly policy we have managed to bond as a family really well.”