Insurance giant Aviva continues to spearhead a new approach to working parents. Latest data from the company shows more dads are taking longer paternity leave.
Dads are now taking an average of five months of paternity leave at Aviva.
The insurance giant just released the latest stats on its equal parental leave policy.
And they show another year on year increase in the number of dads taking time off and the length of leave they are taking. Almost all new fathers at Aviva take more than the statutory two weeks of paternity leave.
The figures heavily suggest that working dads want more time off with their families. And if it’s provided, paid and normalised they will take it.
Aviva won the ‘Best for Dads’ category at our awards last year. They offer all parents, regardless of gender, 12 months of leave. Six months of it is fully paid. They also offer a phased return to work for all parents.
The company has just released its latest figures on uptake. In 2019 there was an 11% rise in the amount of paternity days taken compared to 2018. And there’s been an increase of 23% in the number of fathers taking the leave compared to 2018.
Lindsey Rix, Aviva CEO UK Savings and Retirement, said of the new stats, “When barriers are removed, and the right culture is in place, men are keen to take more time out of work to care for their young families. Equal parental leave can be a powerful catalyst for changing workplace culture and the experience of new parents.
“We believe our approach to parental leave is working because of a number of factors. First, there is active and vocal support from senior leaders, who themselves take months, not weeks, of parental leave. Second is the simplicity and ease of the policy, there’s no small print. Third, there is support beyond the paternity period itself – when colleagues come back to work there is broad availability for flexible working. Finally, we work hard to normalise it. The more people who see colleagues taking lengthier parental leave, the more they feel able to do so as well.”
The latest Aviva research also reveals that 43% of dads were worried taking a longer paternity leave would impact negatively on their career. That compared to 20% of women. Yet despite this, the increase in men taking the leave suggests it did not deter them. This is likely to reflect the fact that colleagues describe strong line manager support. One employee we spoke to earlier in the year identified a supportive manager as being key to him having such a good experience of paternity leave. 92% of Aviva employees questioned said their line manager was supportive of their decision to take parental leave.
There is a marked difference however on how parents return to work. More women still ‘formally’ change their working hours than men. Only 2% of men change their contracted hours, compared to 29% of women. However, 32% of men questioned said they work flexibly or condensed hours when returning to work, in most cases ‘informally’.
Lindsey Rix commented, “Many male colleagues have said equal parental leave has helped them to better understand what returning to work has long been like for new mums. We will be tracking this over the coming years to see exactly how it might have a positive impact on the shape of our business. We are also seeing an increase in the number of dads wanting to work more flexibly when they return, suggesting that equal parental leave is influencing that.”
Nevertheless, women at Aviva continue to take a significantly longer period of parental leave compared to men (311 days v 158 days). And only 18% of women said they didn’t change their original working hours, compared to 62% of men.
The company is determined to embed the changes still further. Lindsey Rix continues: “We’re just two years into equal parental leave at Aviva, and we’re still learning about its impact. However, what is clear is that it is helping to remove barriers and it is helping to create a more diverse and inclusive culture which benefits everyone. We will continue to help people understand how it can work for them and encourage people to use it.”