Two thirds of new dads have taken 16 weeks fully paid paternity leave since launch of the policy in 2019.
While the number of fathers in the UK taking paternity leave has plummeted recently, insurer Zurich is bucking the trend thanks to its generous parental leave policies.
In the last two years at the company, 63% of dads have opted to take the full 16 weeks fully paid, while 68% have taken over 10 weeks off and 74% have taken at least a month.
Senior underwriter David Geere (pictured above) is father to two young sons, the latter of whom was born in December 2020. He took fully paid leave for both. “It’s been a life saver and without it, I don’t know how we would have coped,” he says. “I didn’t realise how much I’d appreciate that time until afterwards.”
“Family friendly policies like this are forward thinking, courageous and at the forefront of paternal rights,” he adds. “Paid paternity leave is an incredibly powerful benefit to attract new members of staff, as well as retaining existing talent.”
Zurich claims adjuster Stuart Mole (pictured below) knows fellow dads who didn’t even get two weeks leave. He took a fortnight when his son Dylan was born in February and plans to take the rest of his paternity leave next month before his fiancée returns to work in January.
“The fact that the benefit offers fully paid leave, means I can take time out without it impacting our finances,” he says.
A new study by Zurich showed two fifths of new fathers don’t take the amount of paternity leave that they feel they need to bond with their new children and for those not taking any time off, 45% said it was because they couldn’t afford to take a drop in their salaries.
“By enhancing statutory provision for all parents, we are supporting them in playing a more active role in family life,” said Steve Collinson, Zurich’s UK head of the People team. “To allow more families to benefit, we would urge 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.”