PWC extends childcare voucher incentives to fathers

Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) is to extend its provision of childcare vouchers to fathers who return to work after exercising their new legal right to take more than 12 weeks of paternity leave.

The firm already offers mothers returning from maternity leave an extra 20% of their base pay in childcare vouchers for a year. It has decided to offer vouchers to fathers to support those who take the additional paternity leave, which will entitle them to an extra 26 weeks’ leave from 3 April 2011 if their child is due after that date. If the employee’s partner returns to work, the leave can be taken between 20 weeks and one year after the child is born or placed for adoption.

Sarah Churchman, PWC’s head of diversity and employee engagement, said: “Childcare vouchers are a big benefit of our maternity package. With the introduction of extended paternity leave, we are offering something very similar for dads, so if they take time off, they too will be eligible for childcare vouchers.”

PWC currently offers new fathers two weeks’ leave, which they can take in separate chunks during the first year of their child’s life. The firm has yet to gauge how many fathers will take up their increased rights, although a series of focus groups has indicated men might be reluctant to take additional leave if they are the main breadwinners.

“We are interested in how many of our dads will take that additional time,” said Churchman. “A lot of the dads we spoke to said on the basis that they were the main breadwinner, they probably would not take the time.”

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