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Volvo announces new paid parental leave policy

Automotive company Volvo has announced it is offering 24 weeks paid parental leave to all employees, demonstrating how essential a good work-life balance is for working parents, according to work-life balance charity Working Families

The all-gender, paid parental leave policy, Family Bond, will give employees with at least one year’s service a total of 24 weeks of leave at 80% of their base pay by default.

The policy applies to either parent and the leave can be taken anytime within the three first years of parenthood.

Working Families said Volvo’s new programme highlighted the importance of a good work-life balance for parents.

Speaking to HR magazine, Jane van Zyl, chief executive of Working Families, said having time away from work to care for a new baby is just as important for fathers and partners as it is for mothers.

She said: “It’s high time we moved past the out-dated notion that family caring responsibilities are something only women care about.

“It’s very positive to see a large company like Volvo say its focus is on supporting parents is right at the heart of their organisational culture, as we know from our work with employers right across different sectors doing that has huge benefits not just for the individuals, but for the business.”

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Van Zyl said the charity has seen a large spike in fathers asking for help to understand how they can access shared parental leave since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

She said: “For those not lucky enough to work for an employer as understanding as Volvo, we are calling for Shared Parental Leave to be reformed, so all new fathers and partners are entitled to an additional 12 weeks of paid leave.

“We want to see more employers follow Volvo’s lead and ensure they are effectively supporting their employee parents – that’s 13 million people in the UK today – and reap the brilliant business rewards that come along with it.”

Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive at Volvo, said when parents are supported to balance the demands of work and family, it helps to close the gender gap and allows everyone to excel in their careers.

He added: “Volvo have always been a family-oriented and human-centric company.

“Through the Family Bond programme, we are demonstrating and living our values, which in turn will strengthen our brand.”

The paid parental leave policy began on April 1 2021.