Insurance organisation Axa is to introduce a global parental leave policy for its 166,000 employees across 64 countries.
The policy will enable employees who are the primary parent to take 16 weeks of fully paid leave, and co-parents will receive four weeks of fully paid leave.
Where local laws or current benefits extend beyond the new policy, the greater benefit will continue to apply.
In the UK, the new global policy increases the current paid leave entitlement by one week for primary parents and by three weeks for co-parents.
The primary parent is deemed the parent that will take primary responsibility for welcoming a child into the family, while the co-parent is defined as the parent that takes responsibility for welcoming the child into the family but who will not take the primary parent leave. In cases involving the pregnancy of an employee or their partner, the pregnant woman is automatically considered the primary parent and the person who is not pregnant is automatically the co-parent.
The policy applies to all staff across the 64 countries in which the organisation operates, including same-sex couples, adoptive and single parents. It will come into effect on 1 January 2017.
The organisation is implementing the policy to ensure it provides a diverse and inclusive working environment for its employees, with the aim of being a preferred employer in its sector.
In addition to the paid leave policy, Axa will continue to offer support for working families, including flexible-working options, private rooms for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace, extra days of leave to care for sick children, and links to local childcare.
Thomas Buberl (pictured), chief executive officer at Axa, said: “At Axa, we have a global culture which supports our employees and allows them to have fulfilling professional and personal lives. Our values demand that all our employees are respected and their individual differences are celebrated. This first global policy will give all our employees, wherever they work in the world, the ability to enjoy the most precious time with the new additions to their families secure in the knowledge that Axa will support them.”
Lucinda Charles-Jones, human resources director at Axa UK, added: “This policy will enhance and standardise what we offer to employees across the group and around the world. In the UK, the benefits offered, particularly relating to co-parental leave, ensure Axa is one of the leaders in the sector. We recognise that parental support is an important cornerstone of any employment offer and a significant competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the best talent.”