Equal parental leave shows men are eager to share childcare

Aviva reveals strong take up of equal parental leave at policy’s first anniversary.

Image of a mother and father playing with a toddler
Aviva offers UK employees 12 months of leave when a new child arrives
  • More than 700 parents making use of the scheme across all markets
  • The policy offers equal parental leave to men and women working at Aviva - up to 12 months in the UK, including 26 weeks at full pay
  • New fathers at Aviva UK have taken an average of 21 weeks’ paternity leave since the policy was introduced, compared to two weeks in the previous year1
  • 67% of Aviva UK new dads opted to take six months2 off work to care for their new arrivals
  • 95% of Aviva UK new dads took more than two weeks, the entitlement typically offered through statutory paid paternity leave

New figures from Aviva reveal an encouraging response to its equal parental leave policy which was introduced one year ago. More than 700 employees have made use of the scheme internationally, including around 300 men.

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The average number of paternity days taken by men at Aviva UK has increased by more than 14 times since the policy was introduced. This supports the notion that fathers are keen to take time out from their careers to spend time with their families, if barriers are removed.

Image of a baby playing with toys
Dads employed by Aviva are choosing to take more than the statutory two weeks of paid paternity leave

Since November 2017, almost every new dad employed by the insurer in the UK has opted to take more than the statutory two weeks of paid paternity leave. Two thirds (67%) of eligible fathers chose to take six months off work2 with their new arrivals and 95% took more than a fortnight. In the UK, around 500 colleagues have used the policy, including more than 220 men.

Parents employed by Aviva are eligible to the same amount of paid and unpaid time off, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or how they became a parent (birth, adoption or surrogacy). Under the policy, all UK employees are able to take 12 months of leave when a new child arrives, including 26 weeks at full basic pay. 

How many Aviva employees have taken up the shared parental leave scheme in the first 10.5 months?


Female employees


Male employees

The policy has also enabled female Aviva workers to extend the typical time taken at the arrival of a child. Their paid maternity leave entitlement has increased from 18 to 26 weeks at full basic pay. The data reveals women at Aviva UK are taking a month longer for their maternity leave under the new policy (47 weeks compared to 43 weeks in the previous year).

Image of a man holding a toddler
Dads at Aviva say that equal parental leave has given them a fresh perspective on parenthood

By contrast, only around 2%3 of new parents across the UK have taken up the Government’s Shared Parental Leave scheme (SPL) since it was launched in April 2015.

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. The feedback from our returning parents has been fantastic. Many dads have said it’s helped them to understand what women have experienced for generations, so this fresh perspective is invaluable.

If we are going a create diverse, inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive, we must avoid viewing people as just one thing – a woman, a carer, an older worker – and instead see the value they can add. By better understanding one another as employees, we can better understand our customers, so there are benefits all round. We want to create an environment where everyone is recognised solely for their talent. Our equal parental leave policy is just one example of what we’re doing to achieve this.

Additional data

  • 729 Aviva employees from all international markets - 430 female colleagues and 299 male workers - made use of the scheme in the first 10.5 months.
  • In the UK, 496 Aviva employees made use of the policy in the first 10.5 months - 268 female colleagues and 228 male workers.

Case studies of male and female employees who have taken / plan to take parental leave are available. 


1Data since the introduction of the equal parental leave policy relates to 19 November 2017 to 30 September 2018 inclusive. Data for the previous year relates to 1 November 2016 to 31 October 2017 inclusive.

2Includes fathers who took between 25 weeks and 26 weeks.

3Figures according to the Department for Business.

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Notes to editors

About Aviva’s parental leave policy

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, Aviva offers up to one year of leave, of which 26 weeks’ is at full basic pay for each parent employed by the company within the first 12 months of a child’s arrival. This applies to employees in all UK offices and locations, with no eligibility criteria relating to service length or earnings threshold. Aviva’s new parental leave policy entitlement includes:

  • Equal amount of paid and unpaid parental leave when a new child arrives.
  • Includes full-time and part-time employees across all levels of the company.
  • No requirement to share the parental leave between parents.
  • If both parents are employees of Aviva, they each have their own entitlement to leave and pay, which they can take at the same time.
  • The new parental leave policy has been offered to Aviva employees who have become parents since 19 November 2017.

About Aviva

  • Aviva provides life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management to 33 million customers.
  • In the UK we are the leading insurer serving one in every four households and have strong businesses in selected markets in Europe, Asia and Canada. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE100 index.  
  • Aviva’s asset management business, Aviva Investors, provides asset management services to both Aviva and external clients, and currently manages over £350 billion in assets. Total group assets under management at the Aviva group are £490 billion.
  • Aviva helps people save for the future and manage the risks of everyday life; in 2017, we paid out 98% of all our claims across all our markets and insurance products. We paid £34.6 billion in benefits and claims in 2017.
  • By serving our customers well, we are building a business which is strong and sustainable, which our people are proud to work for, and which makes a positive contribution to society.
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