Global investment organisation Standard Life Aberdeen has announced that it will be launching an enhanced parental leave policy for its 4,500 UK-based employees.
The policy includes 40 weeks of fully-paid leave when an employee becomes a parent, effective from 1 January 2020. This will be available to staff regardless of gender, and will cover both birth and adoptive parents, as well as those who have used a surrogate. The leave allowance will be available regardless of an employee’s tenure.
In addition, the organisation is offering all employees the option to take 52 weeks of leave overall, with the remaining 12 weeks being unpaid. Staff will have the flexibility to split this into one, two or three chunks, as long as they take the time off over the two years following the child’s birth or adoption.
If a baby is born prematurely, Standard Life Aberdeen employees will be entitled to additional leave covering the period between birth and 37 weeks.
The new policy is part of Standard Life Aberdeen’s commitment to supporting families and promoting a positive work-life balance among its workforce. It was communicated to staff via an email message from the organisation’s chief executive.
In addition, the organisation is aiming to promote gender equality and ensure that becoming a parent does not affect an individual’s career. As part of its approach to gender diversity, Standard Life Aberdeen is a signatory of the Women in Finance Charter and has published its own Gender Action Plan for making improvements to diversity and inclusion across the organisation.
Other benefits offered by Standard Life Aberdeen as part of its efforts to be a family-friendly employer includes 12 weeks of serious illness leave, allowing staff to care for family members, which can be taken all at once or divided up as seen fit. In addition, employees are entitled to five days of carers or dependants leave and foster carer leave.
Rose Thomson, chief HR officer at Standard Life Aberdeen (pictured), said: “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’s]. We think that needs to change.
“We are a family-friendly employer and our new policy represents a potentially life changing opportunity for new parents, whatever their family circumstances. We know that our people need to balance their work lives with their personal lives and this new policy is one example of the actions we’re taking to help them maintain that balance.”