Two more corporate giants boost parental pay and leave offer to men

Mobile phone firm and company that makes Guinness introduce more generous terms for all employees

zurich uk Paternity Leave


Two big corporations have boosted their benefits package for new dads this week.

The moves from O2 and Diageo show that companies increasingly see enhanced paternity leave and pay as an important part of attracting and retaining the best staff.

Mobile phone firm O2 have upped their paid paternity leave allowance to 14 weeks. Previously it was the statutory 2 weeks. And the new policy applies to all staff including those working in its High Street stores as well as managers at head office.

In the same week drinks giant Diageo has rejigged its parental leave offer to make it easier for mums and dads to take up shared parental leave and split childcare as they see fit in their baby’s first year.

Ann Pickering, chief HR officer and chief of staff at O2, said: “Giving new parents the flexibility to spend more time at home when having a child is part and parcel of modern-day parenting. We know that families come in all shapes and sizes and understand the importance of ensuring that we give all new parents the opportunity to spend valuable time supporting their new family. We don’t want our people to feel as though they have to choose between their career and bringing up a family. We are committed champions on flexible working which is key for promoting a more diverse, balanced and inclusive culture. We’ve seen that encouraging flexible working has a direct impact on motivating and retaining the best people, as well as attracting top talent to our business.”

Paid leave

Diageo’s new policy sees mums and dads entitled to 26 weeks of fully paid leave and a further six months paid according to the statutory rules.

Again the policy applies to all employees including those in manufacturing roles. Parents who take time out of the workforce are to be supported with coaching, counselling and the offer of flexible work when they return.

Mairead Nayager, chief HR officer at Diageo – the firm behind Guinness, Baileys and Johnnie Walker whisky – said, “True gender equality in the working world requires fundamental changes to a broad range of working practices, including a shake-up of the policies and cultural norms around parental leave.”

And the firm’s shift to equalising parental leave was endorsed by Equalities minister Penny Mordaunt MP who said, “I’m delighted to see Diageo making this move. Shared parental leave gives both mums and dads the chance to spend quality time with their child in the important first months of their life, creating a bond that will last a lifetime. Employers can reap the benefits too. We know that flexibility in work is proven to create happier, more loyal and more productive workforces.”

Both companies’ policies are for all parents including those that adopt or become parents through surrogacy.

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