As these two case studies show, the company is leading the way when it comes to paternity and parental leave.
Derek McWhinnie, head of customer care at Zurich, lives near Southampton with wife Michelle and their four children – Harry 6, Ava 5, Elise 3 and Rory who’s now 18 months.
Rory was born in March 2021 when Derek took an initial two weeks of his paternity leave, plus a week’s holiday. He then kept the rest of his time until the summer.
Derek spent from July through to the end of September helping the family settle into a new routine. They spent time visiting relatives in Scotland, and as much time as possible away from home.
Zurich’s paternity leave package was a huge benefit to Derek. He says, “It was the first six week block we’d experienced together, and without me at home, that might have been daunting for any parent trying to do it alone. The time off enabled us to adjust and get into a bit of a routine – as well as managing the building project and little Rory. Without this time off, life would have been stressful for us all.”
He adds, “It worked too from a work perspective as I was open and honest from the outset about how I intended to take the time. It enabled my manager to plan and prepare so that when I returned, it was as if I’d not been away. The whole team have been incredibly supportive.”
Having returned to work, Derek works flexibly and says he manages to strike a good balance with home and work as he’s keen to do a great job on both fronts.
Shaun Munday is a Senior Real Estate Underwriter for Zurich and based the insurer’s London office (within the Schemes and Captives team).
He lives in Basingstoke with his family – wife Nadine and their son Leo James, who was born in July 2021. Shaun took his paternity leave in two parts – spending five weeks at home when Leo was born before returning to work for 8 weeks. He then took his remaining entitlement from early October 2021.
He says, “Before taking paternity leave, I did have reservations in the back of my mind about how this might impact my career, but as it happens, I’ve actually been promoted and feel I can still pursue my ambition.”
He spent his time off supporting Nadine recover after the birth and shared looking after their new baby boy. Nadine has also been on maternity leave since June and so their time off has overlapped and enabled them to bond as a family.
Shaun adds, “I’m forever grateful to Zurich for offering this amazing benefit. Having spent time bonding with Leo, he responds to me like he does to Nadine. I’ve been able to support at home in ways I’d have not been able to without this policy, and we’ve really worked as a team. I’ve been able to switch off from work and really focus on my family.
“This benefit is a great way to retain a younger workforce, many of whom will be thinking about starting families. It’s no longer accepted that women shoulder all of the childcare – I too want to play an active role and I really enjoyed my time off supporting my wife and son.”