Investment company Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) is to offer all its employees nine months of fully-paid leave when they become parents, and one year’s total leave.
SLA said the leave would be available to all new parents, irrespective of gender, family situation, or how long they have worked for the company.
“Current arrangements – whether statutory or enhanced – can mean new parents have to make difficult decisions about who can afford to take leave and whether one parent’s time with the child takes away from the other,” said chief HR officer Rose Thomson.
“We think that needs to change,” she said.
Contractually employed staff in the UK are currently entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, 39 of which should be paid – but not fully-paid. New fathers get two weeks of paid paternity leave.
Under shared parental leave, new parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave if they satisfy certain eligibility criteria.
Under the new policy, which will be introduced at the beginning of next year, SLA employees will have the option to take the full year’s leave in one go, or in three separate blocks over two years.
SLA will also offer additional leave to parents of babies born prematurely.
Thomson told City A.M. the merger of Standard Life with Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017 had given the company a “blank slate” to reevaluate employee benefits and “plant a flag in terms of what’s important for us”.
“Whether you’re two mothers, two fathers, a mother and a father, whatever the size and shape of your family the fact you’re a parent is something that is universal. It makes absolutely no sense to have any barriers to any parents being able to enjoy the benefit of spending time with their family,” she said.
Main image credit: Standard Life Aberdeen