Uptake of enhanced paternity policy rises

Insurer Zurich’s research shows that nearly three quarters of dads are taking the full 16 weeks paternity leave on full pay.

dad hugging baby


Derek McWhinnie was able to take valuable time off with his fourth child and says Zurich’s paternity policy of 16 weeks on full pay has helped him bond and share the parenting load more equitably.

Zurich’s head of customer care at Zurich initially took two weeks of his paternity leave in March, plus a week’s holiday when his son Rory was born and was then able to take the rest of his paternity leave in the summer, spending from July through to the end of September helping the family settle into a new routine and visiting relatives.

Derek, who works flexibly, says he was able to plan ahead so when he returned it was as if he had not been away.

Data published today by Zurich shows that the majority of its dads (73%) are taking the full 16 weeks paid paternity leave, up from 66% in 2020. A further 7% have taken at least 10 weeks since the launch of the insurer’s family friendly policies in 2019 to its 4,500 UK employees.

In total, over 220 dads and second parents have now benefitted from the policy which covers all second parents. The policy compares with the two weeks paternity leave which most dads are offered, which is not on full salary for most. Financial pressures are the main reason cited by dads for not taking paternity leave. Statutory paternity pay is just £156.66 a week.

Steve Collinson, Chief HR Officer for Zurich UK said: “Our data proves that by having the right policies in place, we can properly support modern families. It’s fantastic to see more second parents at Zurich making full use of the family leave package on offer. Many organisations’ current maternity and paternity leave policies were written decades ago when family life was unrecognisable to how it is now. We know that most parents want to play an active role in family life and so workplace policies must reflect that.

“By enhancing statutory provision for all parents, we are supporting them in being the parents they want to be. I believe we’re also rewarded by a happy and committed workforce. Attracting top talent is still a challenge and this is another tool in our armoury. We urge Government to enhance the statutory pay for fathers and second parents, which in turn will encourage more employers to follow suit.”

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