Insurance organisation Zurich UK has seen almost three-quarters (70%) of its employees who have become new fathers take advantage of its paternity benefit since it launched in December 2019.
Through conducting a survey with OnePoll, involving 1,000 employees, the organisation also found that over three-quarters (78%) of the organisation’s new fathers were taking at least three months of leave to spend with their new child.
Zurich introduced the paternity benefit to equalise maternity, adoption and paternity leave, offering 16 weeks of full pay for all working parents who have worked within the organisation for more than 26 weeks.
Before these paternity benefits were offered to employees, working fathers could only choose to take up additional leave under Zurich’s shared parental leave scheme.
Under the shared parental leave policy, working parents can apply for statutory leave if they have a baby or are adopting. It enables employees to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of Statutory Paternity Pay between them at £151.20 per week. Both parents need to have been employed continuously by their employer for at least 26 weeks.
Zurich also provides its employees with up to 16 weeks full pay for premature births, a new IVF policy offering 16 days leave in a 12-month period for the birth parents of an in-vitro fertilization child (IVF). Employees that experience a miscarriage receive one week paid leave, while the business also offers flexible working patterns and shift times. Parents that experience the poor health of a parent, partner, spouse, or child will receive one month paid leave at full pay.
Steve Collinson, head of HR at Zurich, said: “The reaction we have had from parents about our gender-neutral family leave policy has been overwhelmingly positive, with the majority of parents telling us of their intention to take the full 16 weeks leave. This forms part of a broader approach to family-friendly working and flexibility for parents and carers.
“It is 2020, family life has moved on, and our approach as employers must too. By enhancing statutory provision for all parents, we are supporting employees in playing a more active role in family life. To allow more families to benefit, we would urge the government to enhance the statutory pay for fathers and second parents, which, in turn, will shift the dial and encourage more employers to follow suit.”