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“Big four” accounting firm Deloitte has delivered a little bundle of joy by way of a bonus to its employees – doubling paid paternity leave from two to four weeks for the company’s non-birthing parents.
In an announcement on 31 August, the company said it was taking into account the “emotional and physical wellbeing of both children and parents” adding that the change in policy further reinforces “a culture of supporting working parents”.
Dimple Agarwal, the firm’s managing partner for people and purpose, said: “We’ve listened to feedback and understand that an increasing number of non-birthing parents want the opportunity to be able to play a more active parenting role – both in those first weeks and longer term. However, take-up numbers for this leave are disappointingly low and we are very keen to change this.”
The firm’s new parenting policy will commence on 1 October 2019 for all employees with 26 weeks or more continuous service with Deloitte. Any father, same-sex spouse or partner, civil partner or adopter, will be encouraged to take the additional leave.
There is also an option for eligible employees to take the leave in two blocks – one within the first 56 days of the birth and a second block anytime within the baby’s first year.
The firm’s recent research, undertaken in conjunction with DaddiLife, a prominent UK platform for Millennial dads, surveyed more than 2000 working fathers between the ages of 24 and 40. It found that 58% of fathers are now actively involved in day-to-day parenting – but their employers don’t always make it easy for them.
“As we strive to improve gender diversity, both in our firm and society more broadly, we recognise a key reason why we have lacked women in senior roles is attrition at manager and senior manager grade when they typically start a family,” Agarwal added.
“Having seen a decline in our own female attrition in the last four years, we can further help women’s career progression by focusing on the support for the other parent.”