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Would you and your partner take time off work if companies offered 6 months paid parental leave for all?

563 replies

JustineBMumsnet · 26/11/2018 17:11

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Having a new baby is an exciting time regardless of whether you’re a mum or a dad, and spending time with them in those first few months is a precious experience. A year ago Aviva introduced its equal paid parental leave policy, where all employees can take up to 12 months off, with no need for mums to share their maternity allowance. With this in mind, Aviva would like to hear your thoughts on giving all parents the same amount of time off.

Here’s what Caroline Prendergast, Interim Chief People Officer at Aviva has to say: “We decided to make all parents at Aviva eligible for the same amount of paid and unpaid time off, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or how they became a parent. We thought that dads would want to spend time with their new arrivals, just as mums do. One year on, our experience shows that with financial barriers removed, they do just that.”

You can find out more about Aviva as an employer here.

If all companies offered 6 months paid parental leave, do you think your spouse or partner would be prepared take the time off work to share childcare duties? If not, why not?

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Would you and your partner take time off work if companies offered 6 months paid parental leave for all?
OP posts:
Heratnumber7 · 26/11/2018 17:27

In principle, a great idea. In practise, I can't see many men using their entitlement.

ineedwine99 · 26/11/2018 17:32

I work there, if we have a second my husband would take it, a new dad in my team is on his 6m leave now. It's getting good take up, I think it's great dads now have this opportunity

AngelDog · 26/11/2018 17:40

In principle, a good idea. In practice, it depends on the situation. Where there's been a C-section with a slow or difficult recovery, a difficult baby and other children to look after, having the father stay at home would be great. After our first baby, DH went back to work after a week as he was bored and there was nothing to do once he'd cooked our meals! What was good was being able to take that second week of paternity leave later, when we were in the 6 week growth spurt misery.

Stephisaur · 26/11/2018 17:40

I can’t really see the benefit of him being home with me.

He can’t drive, so would be bugger all use for the most part if we needed to go somewhere. I’m planning on breastfeeding, so he can’t help feed the baby. He could maybe entertain the baby while I had a shower etc, but that can wait until he’s home from work anyway.

The 26 weeks at full pay is a fantastic idea, but I’m not sure if that would encourage my husband to stay home from work.

treegone · 26/11/2018 17:46

I heard that aviva offered this quite recently and was really pleased to hear that it has adopted a progressive and in my opinion, important policy on parental leave. I'm sure as a very large company it can absorb any losses but over time I think it would help with staff retention. It takes someone to do it like this and then over time that helps it to become normalised and hopefully, more widespread. At some point we could start to see greater equality as more men take childcare seriously and less women are penalised for having children.

Onthebrink87 · 26/11/2018 17:46

Id like to think that in future if it becomes common place for both parents to take the same amount of leave after the birth of a baby, there may not be as much discrimination towards women when recruiting

Cakeandslippers · 26/11/2018 17:51

This is a great idea! My DH would have loved to take time off when out first is born but we did the sums for shared parental leave and due to our policies I'd have needed to return to work within 3 months of birth to make it financially viable for him to take any leave over and above basic paternity. I didn't feel like that would be good for me and we couldn't find a way to make it work. Such a shame as I think more dads taking time off would be such a step forward for us in the UK.

gamerwidow · 26/11/2018 17:55

It's a great idea we will never have true equality unless more men are given (and take up) the chance to take an equal role in childcare especially for the early years. I'm sure many men feel sad at missing out on so much of their child's first years and they should be given the same chances as women to enjoy spending time with their families.

Bunnymumma · 26/11/2018 18:05

I think it's fantastic. We are lucky enough to both work from home, together, but if we didn't, I know we would want to take full advantage of this!

Uummokay · 26/11/2018 18:09

Such progressive thinking. My company only pay smp so even the take up of paternity leave is very low as it isn't seen as financially viable for the males ( it isn't financially viable for the female colleagues but that's a different thread in its own right).

My partners I have shared parental leave. I had 9 months at SMP and he took three months unpaid. It has been so rewarding and I feel are parenting is weighted equally. The downside has been the lack of income bit we felt the opportunity was worth more than the financials. If like Aviva, the pay was better I believe there would be greater take up. Many male colleagues have said how much they would have enjoyed such an opportunity however they could never afford to do it.

It's sad to think that fair pay (above SMP for parental & maternity leave) is only being addressed since the drive for greater male take up.

poppyseed2 · 26/11/2018 18:17

I think this could be great, and hopefully pave the way for more equal parenting as the child grows up as well. In practice, until it becomes more normal and accepted, we would worry about the impact it could have on DH's career.

LisaSimpsonsbff · 26/11/2018 18:24

DH and I are doing SPL, with the switchover point coming in January, when DS will be 6 months. So we're hoping it will work well for us, but don't know yet! I have been surprised at how judgemental/hostile a lot of other women have been to the plan - at baby groups I've got a lot of 'but how can you bear to leave him?', 'you won't get the time back you know' and 'I'd never give away my leave'. I've been trying to ignore it but it does sometimes make me feel like my maternal instinct is a bit deficient!

NineteenForever · 26/11/2018 18:43

My children are in mid and later send now, but I would have loved to have us both home for an extended period of time.

ibuiltahomeforyou · 26/11/2018 18:45

Well done Aviva for offering equal paid leave!
My DH and I did SPL and I went back when our DD was nine months old. It worked brilliantly for us. My DH now understands all the baby chores are separate from house chores and has a lovely bond with DD.

If we had a second child we would definitely do equal parental leave. It worked fantastically well for us.

NothingOnTellyAgain · 26/11/2018 18:52

Great idea & well done Aviva for a genuinely progressive policy.

We would have used this >
DH is v family oriented + I had pretty bad peri natal mental health issues. He managed 4 weeks off for both kids (2 weeks pat leave + 2 weeks hol) and was trying to look after me while I did my best to look after the kids. He works shifts so he was around a lot but doing that on top of full time was hard for him.

I think if this had been on offer it would have been great from a general family perspective and also from the perspective that a lot of women still need support whether physical or otherwise for more than 2 weeks after giving birth, and this will help with that as well. So good for families but good for society as well.

I am very pleased to hear that the takeup is high amognst new fathers.

SilverLinings2014 · 26/11/2018 18:54

It's great and really progressive to provide this. There are still some challenges to be overcome though. For a breastfeeding mother who's baby will not accept a bottle, for example, this only work if the father could bring the baby to her place of work for feeds, which isn't always practical given the distance some parents commute for work.

TweetleBeetlesBattle · 26/11/2018 19:27

We would have used this, probably not all of it, but it would have been amazing to have had a longer parental leave.

chilledteacher · 26/11/2018 19:38

Great idea in principle, in practice not so sure. DS is EBF and had tongue tie so it was really hard going to begin with, 14 weeks in and we've only just "got" feeding sussed. I think DH would have struggled and would have been phoning me every 5 minutes.

TooManyNames · 26/11/2018 19:42

Wish all organisations could learn from this and evolve in the same way... I was devastated when my partner went back to work. I even got PND for some time with the DC1 - very hard times. Flexibility is key for happy employees for sure.

BristolMum96 · 26/11/2018 19:48

In an ideal world both parents would have a years paid leave. Decent pay not that crap stat amount I suffered on.

duck22 · 26/11/2018 19:59

This would be amazing, although financially difficult. It would be great for my husband to get the same bonding time. Unfortunately he missed out on a lot of firsts

RatRolyPoly · 26/11/2018 20:24

I think it would be fabulous to both be on paid leave initially, certainly for longer than the two weeks my OH got for paternity leave. My god, the sleep deprivation was hellish, it would have been fantastic to have him around whilst I got some sleep!

I don't think there's any way we could have survived if we were both on unpaid leave though. And whilst shared leave in the first year is a fantastic thing, when you have an ebf baby who won't take a bottle... yeah, that ain't going to work.

OnlyToWin · 26/11/2018 20:27

We missed out on this with our children, but it seems like a good idea. However I don’t know a single person who has taken advantage of it. Don’t really know why not.

headfullofdreams · 26/11/2018 20:51

It's a good idea but might not be practical or affordable!

Sophia1984 · 26/11/2018 20:53

I think it’s brilliant if it can be done without taking away from the leave Mum is able to take. I got such a short time off before I had to go back, but maybe if I’d had 9 months I’d have been happy for DH to have 3.

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