Aviva introduces carers policy and enhances bereavement leave for UK staff


Insurance organisation Aviva has introduced a carers policy and enhanced its bereavement leave benefit for its 16,000 UK-based employees.

The carers policy, which became effective on 2 October 2017, enables full-time employees who have caring responsibilities to take up to 35 hours of paid leave per holiday year for planned events, such as to attend hospital appointments. The policy also allows full-time working carers to take up to 35 hours of paid leave for emergencies per holiday year. The amount of paid leave available for part-time employees who are carers is pro-rated.

In addition, the new carers policy extends to parental leave arrangements to carers, meaning that employees who have caring commitments can request up to four weeks of unpaid leave per year, subject to a maximum 18-week cap. Aviva’s working carers will also be able to request adjustments to their working patterns if needed, for example moving to part-time hours.

Alongside the introduction of the new carers policy, Aviva has increased its bereavement leave, from 35 hours to 70 hours.

The new policy follows a pilot that was undertaken at the organisation’s Bristol site in November 2016. This included 100 employees taking part in the We Care initiative, which provided a support network for employees to share their experiences, as well as the challenges, of juggling work and care commitments. The pilot further enabled Aviva to collect feedback on the issues that its working carers faced.

The carers policy has been launched as part of Aviva’s wider employee wellbeing programme, Wellbeing@Aviva. The programme aims to provide employees with a range of products, policies and advice to help support staff’s overall wellbeing.

Andy Briggs (pictured), chief executive officer, UK insurance and global life and health at Aviva, said: “Nearly one in eight UK [employees] currently combine working and caring commitments. Dealing with these dual responsibilities can be challenging and often unpredictable.

“Through the pilot in our Bristol office, we’ve recognised that a significant number of our employees have caring duties. We’ve also carried out independent research which revealed 83% of UK carers believe they should be treated by employers in the same way as parents; for example, having the right to take up to 18 weeks unpaid leave. Knowing this, we are very pleased to introduce this policy to give further support to all of our UK [employees].

“Changing demographics and an ageing population mean that three in five people in the UK will end up caring for someone at some point of their lives. So we’re taking this step now, to support our [employees] and the people they care about.”