Insurance giant and industry leader on parental leave reveals that generous policy has been even more popular with dads in 2020
Aviva have released new figures on the popularity of their extended parental leave scheme in lockdown.
They report that 99% of new dads at the firm took extra parental leave last year. With 84% taking at least six months.
With many more people working from home and concerns about job security the numbers might have been expected to dip. But the firm says the scheme’s popularity held up. In fact dads took more leave than ever. New fathers took 24 weeks of paternity leave on average compared to 21 weeks in 2018, the year after the firm introduced their groundbreaking policy offering all parents a year of leave with six months of it fully paid.
Danny Harmer, Aviva’s Chief People Officer, said, “Take up of parental leave in 2020 shows it’s a benefit people really value and was a welcome reassurance to families dancing into the stresses of a pandemic. Indeed, it proved to be essential for many colleagues while support networks, such as grandparent and parenting groups were unavailable over the last 12 months.
“A key challenge with hybrid or remote working is that those with caring responsibilities – who are more likely to be women – become less visible unless organisations act consciously. Our hope is that policies like equal parental leave help to balance caring responsibilities between genders and remove any gender based or carer based barriers to career progression.”
Research carried out by Aviva and YouGov found two thirds of parents think the pandemic has increased employers’ responsibilities to do more for working parents.
Many parents said that being able to take months of parental leave together was vital. Lockdown rules and social distancing meant they could not access normal levels of support from friends and family.
Ben Beazley, (pictured above with son Barnaby) who works for Aviva in Norwich was one such example. He took six months of leave between May and November last year after son Barnaby was born. He said, “We were only a few weeks into the first lockdown when my son was born. If I hadn’t been able to spend these six months with my family, it could have had a huge impact on our wellbeing.
“I could be there for Barnaby’s birth, but after that I had to leave the hospital, and could only see him and my partner Sara for four hours a day. That was tough.
“The quality time with Barnaby has been amazing, watching him change. One day a little light came on in his eyes and he started paying attention. Sitting up was good, now he’s starting to crawl.”
And Ben praised Aviva’s support when he returned to work. He said, “Not being face to face with my colleagues after six months on paternity leave has been a challenge, but I’ve had a lot of support from my manager and people around me.”