More time with young children would be the best Fathers’ Day gift of all.
We hope you have a wonderful Fathers’ Day, with lots of relaxing time with the family. You’ve certainly earned it.
But wouldn’t it be great if every day was just a little bit more relaxed? And that life in general was just a little bit more geared towards family life and a little less focused on work? As our groundbreaking Dads at Work research shows, dads want to spend more time with their children, but an outdated working culture often thwarts them in their attempts to do so.
So for many dads, the best Fathers’ Day gift of all would be a better working environment. The sort that facilitates their need to be a strong daily presence in the lives of their children, especially in those vital early weeks and months. Too many UK organisations have yet to accept that reality, and risk losing good, experienced staff as a result. But some companies are striding ahead in terms of parent-friendly policies. To celebrate Fathers’ Day 2019, we’ve picked out three of the best.
Aviva – insuring great family bonding
Aviva’s equal parental leave policy was developed as part of the company’s strategy to remove barriers to career progression and create a diverse and inclusive working culture. In the UK, the insurance giant offers:
- Up to one year of leave
- Of which 26 weeks is at full basic pay, within the first 12 months of a child’s arrival.
- Unusually, the policy applies to all UK employees, regardless of position or length of service and includes part-time staff.
Aviva’s policy treats mums and dads in exactly the same way. Since the policy was introduced, new fathers at Aviva UK have taken an average of 21 weeks’ paternity leave, compared to two weeks in the previous year. Two thirds (67%) of eligible fathers chose to take six months off work with their new arrivals and 95% took more than a fortnight.
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.”
Mark’s story – “Taking the leave was as simple as sending an email”
Mark Jones is a global inclusion partner for Aviva and took 26 weeks of paternity leave when his twins were born.
“The time off provided by Aviva proved to be invaluable in offering the newborn boys the support they needed. For my wife and I, it removed the stress of having to perform at work after a sleepless night. Which is obviously a tangible benefit for Aviva too.
On a personal level, being at home through the first, formative months of my children’s lives enabled us to bond together. Now that I am back at work, when I return home in the evening they are genuinely happy to see me, they burst into laughter and want to cuddle me.
Taking the leave was as simple as sending an email to my line manager. I used a number of keep in touch days to ensure that I was aware of the work my team was completing whilst I was away. This meant that when my return date arrived, I was able to turn up on the Monday, have a small update meeting with individuals, and continue where I left off.”
02 – connecting families better
Telecommunications company O2 recently announced that it was increasing its full pay paternity leave package from two to 14 weeks for both head office and retail staff.
Ann Pickering, chief HR officer and chief of staff at O2, says: “We know that families come in all shapes and sizes and understand the importance of ensuring that we give all new parents the opportunity to spend valuable time supporting their new family. We don’t want our people to feel as though they have to choose between their career and bringing up a family.”
Ann also recognises that what is good for families is also good for business. “We’ve seen that encouraging flexible working has a direct impact on motivating and retaining the best people, as well as attracting top talent to our business,” she says.
Cameron’s story – “I’ll really value the special bond developed with my newborn”
Cameron Moore is a lead service manager (Smart Metering) for 02 and is taking 14 weeks of paternity leave.
“With this precious extended time, I’ll really value the special bond I’ll develop with my newborn as well as the opportunity to support my wife fully as we both embark on the incredible journey of first-time parents.
I want to make the most of the time by watching my new baby experience what life has to offer and the longer paternity leave also means we can share those special early moments with our wider families.
My manager has already been incredibly supportive. We’re working together so that in my absence the wider team are fully up-to-date and supported so that I don’t need to worry about work whilst I’m away. My team are delighted for me and the opportunity I’ve been given.”
Deloitte – a perfect professional service for parents
Professional services company Deloitte is taking huge strides in the provision of parental rights, and sponsored our Dads at Work research. The company provides enhanced pay during paternity, maternity and shared parental leave. It even offers dads paid leave to attend antenatal appointments.
And Deloitte goes one step further, with family-friendly policies that stretch way beyond the early weeks and months of a child’s life. The company displays a real commitment to ‘agile working’, which includes formal policies like Time Out (which lets employees take a four-week period of unpaid leave once a year, for any reason, at a time that suits them and the business) and less formal arrangements, like flexing hours or working from home when needed.
Time Out lets employees take a four-week period of unpaid leave once a year, for any reason, at a time that suits them and the business
Greg Hill, a technical director at Deloitte, took Time Out to enjoy a long summer holiday with his school age children. Which also helped solve the annual dilemma that all working couples with children face – what to do during the six-week break.
Leading the way on Fathers’ Day
Aviva, 02 and Deloitte are leading the way on Fathers’ Day. They feature family-friendly policies that treat mums and dads equally, and that allow dads the time they need to bond with their children.
We know they’re not the only ones. We’d love to hear about other dad-friendly companies that go above and beyond for new (and not-so-new) dads. These could be either through formal policies or more informal arrangements. Let us know about other progressive organisations – big or small – in the comments below or on our Facebook page.