Aviva leads the way on shared parental leave

Aviva's policy has no criteria relating to earnings and applies to staff in all UK locations

Aviva have introduced a progressive new parental leave policy as of 19th November 2017 which goes significantly beyond the current legal requirement. Now all employees are entitled to 26 weeks of leave after a child arrives on full basic pay.

Significantly, this offering from Aviva has no requirement for minimum level of service from employees. In the UK, since April 2015, parents who have had 26 weeks of continuous employment have the right to share statutory parental leave.

Despite this change, recent research from law firm EMW shows relatively low numbers of new parents opting to utilise the policy. Between April 2016 and March 2017 the scheme was used by only 8,700 new parents.

Additionally, Aviva’s policy has no criteria relating to earnings and applies to staff in all UK locations.

Staff who share leave are able to receive an equal amount of both unpaid and paid parental leave when a new child arrives. For those families where both parents are Aviva employees, they will each be entitled to take leave at the same time and with the appropriate pay.

Currently, Aviva are offering this policy to all staff in the UK, Ireland, Canada, France and Singapore who became parents on or after 19 November 2017. Over the next year the company intends to extend the policy to all other Aviva businesses.

This appears to be a policy close to the heart of the company, with Mark Wilson, the company’s group chief executive, expressing his hopes this will help make Aviva the inclusive and welcoming workplace they want it to be – a meritocracy that truly rewards talent.

The chief people officer, Sarah Morris, expressed similar sentiments, hoping this policy will help in the vital first year for a new family, allowing them the time they need together. She sees this as a significant commitment to the diversity and inclusivity Aviva pride themselves on.

Any other companies either hoping to offer or already offering enhanced shared parental schemes should keep track of cases due at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) over the next few months.

Ali v Capita Customer Management will be heard by the EAT in December. In this case the company allowed female staff 14 weeks of enhanced leave, but the claimant was only allowed two weeks of leave despite his wife suffering with postnatal depression and returning to work earlier than expected.

A second case, due in front of the EAT in January, is being brought by a man employed by Leicestershire Police force claiming he was discriminated against when he only received stat1utory shared parental pay and they pay enhanced maternity pay.

This market-leading policy will give the same entitlement to all employees, whatever their sexual orientation or gender or how they become a parent in an important and inclusive step from Aviva.

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