As you may know, in April 2015 the Government introduced a new policy which lets partners share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of maternity pay. This week, Sir Richard Branson at Virgin Management announced that it is going to offer staff who take shared parental leave, up to a full year’s pay.
This means that the Virgin Group is offering all parents, including adopters, up to 100% of their pay for the 52-week period of shared leave. The proportion of pay will depend on the length of time the employee has worked for Branson.
The lowest percentage starts for employees who have worked less than two years they will receive 25% of their wage, then for employees who have worked for Branson for more than four years will receive 100% of their wage.
Currently statutory wages are only the lower of £139.58 or 90% of an employee’s average weekly earnings. This usually means the highest earner is usually the one who stays or returns back to work.
Branson states that he believes ‘if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business. As a father and now a granddad to three wonderful grandchildren, I know how magical the first year of a child’s life is, but also how much hard work it takes.’
He goes on ‘I’m delighted that we can offer this support to our staff so that they can enjoy parental leave to the full, as we continue to work in changing business for good.’ Branson allowing a more balanced choice over who holds the baby, allows a huge welcome boost for gender equality.
So congratulations Branson, let’s hope other employers follow in your footsteps!