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Aviva to offer 16 weeks of equal parental leave on full pay with effect from 19 November

Aviva announced on last Friday (24 November) that it will offer male and female staff in Singapore equal parental leave on full pay for 16 weeks when the child arrives with effect from 19 November 2017.

It stated that parents employed by Aviva will be 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).

"The new policy is part of Aviva’s strategy to create a diverse and inclusive working culture in which barriers to career progression are removed," the release said.

In the UK, Aviva, a new group-wide policy, is offering 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 stated that its new parental leave policy entitlement includes equal amount of paid and unpaid parental leave when a new child arrives, full-time and part-time employees across all levels of the company, no requirement to share the parental leave between parents, and also if both parents are employees of Aviva, they will each have their own entitlement to leave and pay, which they can take at the same time.

According to the company, it will be working to extend this to all other Aviva businesses within the next year, adding that the amount of time off and pay is determined by each local business with the intention Aviva’s parental leave policy is market leading in each country.

Mark Wilson, Group Chief Executive Officer, Aviva plc said, "I want to live in a world where the only criteria for success is someone’s talent, not their gender. Treating parents equally will help make this happen. We want Aviva to be a progressive, inclusive, welcoming place to work. It’s good for our people and it’s also good business sense."

Sarah Morris, Chief People Officer at Aviva, said, "We think this is one of the most ground-breaking, family-friendly policies offered by any employer. It’s time to equalise parental leave and create a level playing field for men and women who want to take time out from their career to spend with their family."

"This will transform the first year of parenthood for many families, giving them the opportunity to spend precious time together. It’s one of our commitments to build a more inclusive and diverse culture at Aviva," it added.

This announcement follows a similar one made by Ikea in September, which announced that it grants four weeks of paid paternity leave for new fathers, which is double the two weeks’ paid paternity leave entitlement of other new fathers in Singapore.

Changes to the Child Development Co-Savings Act were passed in Parliament in November 2016, which grants new fathers two weeks of Government-paid paternity leave, with unwed mothers getting 16 weeks of maternity leave, up from eight weeks.

 Correction - The amount of parental leave for Singapore staff is 16 weeks not 26 weeks.