Aviva has announced that it will allow all new parents among its employees the same amount of paid leave after the arrival of a child.
The insurer said the group-wide policy to offer men and women equal parental leave means parents will be eligible to the same amount of paid and unpaid time off, "regardless of gender, sexual orientation or how they became a parent" – birth, adoption or surrogacy.
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In the UK, Aviva is offering up to one year of leave, of which 26 weeks is at full basic pay for each parent employed by the firm within the first year of a child's arrival.
Parental leave pay received over 26 weeks will be equivalent to an employee's pensionable pay.
|Aviva's new parental leave policy entitlement includes:|
The policy will be offered to Aviva employees who became a parent on or after the 19 November across the UK, Ireland, France, Singapore and Canada, and said it is working to extend that to all its other businesses within the next year.
The amount of time off and pay will be determined by each local business.
Mark Wilson, Aviva's chief executive, said:
I want to live in a world where the only criteria for success is someone’s talent, not their gender. Treating parents equally will help make this happen.
We want Aviva to be a progressive, inclusive, welcoming place to work. It’s good for our people and it’s also good business sense.
As part of efforts to remove barriers to career progression, the government unveiled the shared parental leave scheme in 2015, but research from law firm EMW in September found that just 8,700 new parents had used shared parental leave in the year to March – under one per cent of parents eligible to do so.
It found many new parents were unclear about how the system would work for their families.
In comparison, 661,000 mothers and 221,000 fathers took maternity and paternity leave over the same period, reflecting that the scheme aiming to encourage more fathers to take paid leave from work is being "significantly underutilised".