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Half-day leave calms nerves for parents of new school starters

As many families get ready for the start of the new school year, Aviva is offering parents a half-day of leave to help make their child’s first day at a new school a less nerve-racking experience.

Since 2016, Aviva UK employees have been able to take a half-day, to drop-off or pick-up their child on the first day of a new school. The leave is in addition to holiday entitlement and is available to parents of children starting a new primary or secondary school.

Last year, 419 parents took the ‘first day of school leave’ to support their children and since it was first introduced almost 1,000 UK employees have taken Aviva up on the additional leave opportunity.

Mark Cotter, who works for Aviva in Bristol said: “I think having this half day off to get your children into school on their first day is such a nice touch from Aviva and has taken away a bit of pressure that I think all parents feel at this time of year! It’s especially helpful for us as we already have a seven-year-old going into a new year and our son has recently been diagnosed with autism so his very first day in school gives us some extra challenges and worries. Being able to support my wife by being available to get both kids in on their first day is fantastic and really appreciated.”

This is just one of the flexible working policies Aviva has introduced. In November 2017, Aviva introduced a ground-breaking, group-wide equal parental leave policy. In the UK it offers 26 weeks of paid leave to mums and dads when a new child arrives. The company also introduced a scheme in October 2017 to give greater benefits to employees with caring responsibilities.

Julia Croucher, with son Laurie

Caroline Prendergast, Aviva’s Interim Chief People Officer said: “Colleagues value this time off to be there when their child starts school. I am delighted we can help to ease the pressure and make the memorable ‘first day’ of school less stressful and more enjoyable for families.”

Julia Croucher, who works for Aviva in Norwich, said: “When my eldest started school in 2017, I didn’t work for Aviva. I had arranged to start work an hour later than usual, but I remember heading into work feeling overwhelmed. The whole morning felt very stressful, although I was in the office, my mind wasn’t at work – it was in the classroom three miles away.  My youngest son starts school in September, and I am really grateful for the half day that Aviva provides.”

Sarah Poulter, who works in Aviva’s York office has 11-year-old twins who will be starting high school in September:

Sarah Poulter, with her 11 years old twins

“My children have been at school for years, so you’d think I’d be used to it – but it’s a big step moving from a small primary school to a high school with around 2,000 pupils. I think I’m more worried than the children! I’m trying to cut the apron strings, so I won’t be picking them up from school, but having an additional half day of leave means I can be there when they get home, to hear about their first day and just be there to support them. It’s great to know that Aviva has thought about workers in this situation. It’s a relatively small thing, but it means a lot to me.”

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