Zurich is offering staff affected by school closures an extra 10 days paid leave.
Insurance giant Zurich UK is offering two weeks paid leave for parents who face childcare emergencies following the closure of schools.
Following the lockdowns being followed in different parts of the UK, parents who are not key workers or are not parents of vulnerable children have had to revert to homeschooling while working. Their options include asking for greater flexibility at work, taking annual leave, asking for furlough on the grounds of childcare issues and taking unpaid parental leave.
Zurich is offering fully paid time off for employees to help them balance work and childcare commitments or other caring responsibilities. It says this will benefit more than one in five of Zurich’s 4,500 UK employees with children.
The new approach allows employees to take an additional 10 days paid leave while primary and secondary schools remain shut. The days can be taken individually, or consecutively.
Steve Collinson, Zurich’s Head of HR, said: “With schools closed, working parents will be frantically trying to juggle their jobs and childcare responsibilities. We already offer flexibility for employees who want to change their working hours or structure some days differently. But for parents trying to balance work, childcare and home schooling, this may not be enough. We’re helping our employees get through this crisis by offering mums and dads paid time-off so they can look after their health and their family. This is also available for anyone with other caring commitments.”
Zurich has implemented a number of measures since March 2020 to ensure the wellbeing of its employees, including giving employees the option to sell holiday back to the company, reducing childcare vouchers to just £1 and access to an emergency loan of up to £750 per person available 72 hours following approval and to free antibody tests for all 4,500 UK staff, their partners and anyone over the age of 18 living at their house.
Zurich already offers 16 weeks maternity, paternity and adoption leave on full pay, additional support for families whose children are born prematurely with extra paid leave for the premature period, paid leave to support through the IVF process, paid leave to support people with miscarriage, a new bereavement and compassionate leave policy and, in addition to offering flexible working, it advertises all jobs as available part-time, full-time or job share.