In September 2019, insurance organisation Zurich implemented a range of family-friendly policies for its 4,500 UK employees. This included a new approach to bereavement leave.
These policies mean that employees are able to take a month’s paid leave if they lose a close relative, such as a child, parent, or partner. Additionally, they can take leave to spend the last living days with a family member.
Zurich also offers additional support for families whose children are born prematurely, with extra paid leave for the premature period, as well as to support employees through the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) process, and for people who have suffered a miscarriage.
Steve Collinson, head of HR at Zurich, says: “We recognised that most people at Zurich will be faced with difficult circumstances including the loss of loved ones where they may want to spend precious time with them at the end of their lives. We know that many people need time off to make funeral arrangements and then afterwards so they can take time to grieve and come back to work when they’re ready.
“When making this decision, we knew that we were doing what’s right for our employees and want to support them as best we can. We believe that offering these benefits, including flexible working, can help employees through life’s ups and down, and will help us to attract and retain the best people.”
Feedback from Zurich’s employees around the enhancements to its family-friendly policies has been extremely positive; staff have expressed how grateful they are to have such an understanding and supportive employer.
“Many employees have expressed their happiness about us introducing this benefit, which gives us encouragement that it was the right step to take,” says Collinson. “It’s important that we continue finding ways to support employees who have been unfortunate in losing someone close to them.”