Unicef announces equalised parental leave policy

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The move will give every employee eligibility for 52 weeks of paid leave. 

15th January 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Unicef UK has announced an equalised parental leave policy for all employees.

The charity said the move “acknowledges the equal role of each caregiver in raising a child, shifting the focus away from gender, sexual orientation or length of service, and puts it on the child and the time spent with them during those early moments”.

It means all Unicef UK employees will be eligible for 52 weeks of paid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child, regardless of their sex or gender.

The charity said it now hopes other organisations will follow its lead.

Martyn Dicker, director of people at Unicef UK, said: ‘We are keen to see policies like ours become the norm and for the rights of caregivers and their children to be supported.

“I’m really proud that we are equalising parental leave for all of our employees in one policy. This is a genuinely important moment for us – it’s a big shift forward. It puts us in our rightful place as a sector leader in the way we support parents and caregivers to provide the best opportunities for children. I am hoping others will follow our example.”

A recent global report found the UK was ranked amongst the least family-friendly of the world’s richest countries in terms of policies on child care and parental leave.

New fathers are entitled to just two weeks statutory paternity leave at £148.68 per week, while parents are entitled to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay during the first year the child is born or placed with the family.

The estimated take-up by eligible fathers is currently only between 2 to 8 per cent, with financial reasons cited as the main obstacle.

Freddie Pite, the charity’s senior corporate relations manager, will be one of the first to benefit from the new policy.

He said: “As a new father and Unicef UK employee, it’s great to know that our new parental leave policy will allow me to play my role in my child’s development and that this is recognised as important by Unicef UK.

“This is game-changing for a family as, thanks to this policy change, all caregivers will now get the chance to take an equally active part in raising our children, bonding with them and to help provide them with the best start in life.”