Parental Leave: Who are the Top Employers? explores which employers have the best policies for parental leave for dads.

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Which employers have the best policies for parental leave for dads? When it comes to paternity leave the statutory minimum is a maximum of two weeks at the statutory rate of £145.18 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is less.

Many employers offer two weeks on full pay, but others go further. They include Citi which offers eight weeks on full pay, Bank of America Merrill Lynch which offers 16 weeks and IBM which offers 12 weeks.

Shared Parental Leave

Another option for dads is to share their parental leave with mums. Under Shared Parental Leave, dads can share up to 50 weeks of leave with their partner from the third week after the birth  and up to 37 weeks of pay.

The statutory minimum for Shared Parental Pay is £145.18 or 90% of average weekly pay, whichever is less.

However, a growing number of employers are opting to enhance this for eligible parents. They include Deloitte, Pwc, LSE and Berwin Leighton Paisner [BLP].

Deloitte offers 16 weeks’ full pay followed by 10 weeks’ half pay followed by 13 weeks, mapped across to enhanced maternity pay.

Pwc offers eligible parents 20 weeks full pay in addition to two weeks ordinary paternity leave.

LSE offers not only 16 weeks Shared Parental Pay at full pay, but allows any academic who has been absent for more than 18 weeks a teaching-free term on full pay to catch up on research.

BLP has enhanced Shared Parental Pay to the same level and length as maternity pay, which has led to a much higher level of take-up than the national average. According to the government, national take-up could be as low as 2% of eligible dads. In 2017 35% of eligible dads at Berwin Leighton Paisner took SPL.

Campaigners argue that low take-up of non-enhanced Shared Parental Leave is because the statutory level of pay is so low and because of a number of other factors, including the fact that it is down to the mother to give up her leave and share it with the dad and because of fears that taking the leave will impact career progression.

Equal parental pay

Several employers are therefore going one step further and equalising parental leave, meaning mums and dads each have the same amount of enhanced pay.

Spotify offers six months on full pay for mums and dads. Leave can be taken up to three years after the birth. The expectation is that at least a month at a time is taken on up to three occasions.

The policy was introduced by the Swedish-based company in November 2015 and so far over 400 parents have taken it globally; 67% are dads. All have returned from leave, showing the policy helps retention of parents as well as increasing engagement and loyalty. There is no qualifying period so parents are entitled to take the leave no matter how long they have been with the company, unless they are still on probation.

CA Technologies offers male and female employees a minimum of 12 weeks paid leave during the first 12 months following the birth or adoption of their child.

Tackling the Gender Pay Gap

In September The Telegraph announced an equal parental leave policy, after concerns were raised about its gender pay gap. Encouraging dads to take more leave and share parenting responsibilities is linked to greater equality for women in the workplace. Under its Equal Parental Pay policy both new mothers and fathers will be entitled to six months off on full pay. The policy starts on 1st January 2019 for babies due after 1st January 2019.

Aviva has perhaps gone further than most in that it not only offers equal parental leave, but has published its figures, showing a much higher rate of take-up of leave among men than for Shared Parental Leave. Aviva’s policy, introduced in November 2017, offers up to one year of leave to parents whether they are mums or dads. Twenty-six weeks’ is at full basic pay for each parent employed by the company within the first 12 months of a child’s arrival. One year since the policy came into effect the company says almost every new dad employed by the insurer in the UK has opted to take more than the statutory two weeks of paid paternity leave, meaning the average number of paternity days taken by men at Aviva UK has increased by more than 14 times since the policy was introduced.

Two thirds (67%) of eligible fathers chose to take six months off work with their new arrivals and 95% took more than a fortnight. In the UK, around 500 employees have used the policy, including more than 220 men.

The policy has also enabled female Aviva workers to extend the typical time taken at the arrival of a child. Their paid maternity leave entitlement has increased from 18 to 26 weeks at full basic pay. The data reveals women at Aviva UK are taking a month longer for their maternity leave under the new policy (47 weeks compared to 43 weeks in the previous year).

Caroline Prendergast, Interim Chief People Officer for Aviva, says: “It’s plain to see how much mums and dads value the precious time with their families when a new child arrives. This is clearly reflected in our figures. When we introduced this policy, we wanted all of our parents to know they can take leave and still have a successful career, regardless of gender. The feedback from our returning parents has been fantastic. Many dads have said it’s helped them to understand what women have experienced for generations, so this fresh perspective is invaluable.”

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