Unicef UK to introduce equal parental leave

All new caregivers, regardless of gender, will be entitled to up to 52 weeks' leave

Unicef UK has said it will introduce an equalised parental leave policy for all staff. 

Under the charity’s old policy, only gestational parents or one adoptive parent were entitled to 52 weeks’ leave, while new fathers were only able to take two weeks’ leave on full pay. 

But the charity said today that under its new policy, all new caregivers, regardless of gender, would be entitled to up to 52 weeks’ leave. 

Under the new policy, any qualifying new biological or adoptive parent would be paid for the first 39 weeks of the parental leave period, including receiving full pay for the first six weeks. 

From weeks seven to 30 employees will be paid half of their salary and from weeks 31 to 39 they will be paid the statutory parental leave rate as set by the government. 

A spokeswoman for the charity said the move had been prompted by its Early Moments Matter report, which highlighted the crucial role of parents and caregivers in a child’s early years.  

"Employers have a responsibility to provide parents with the necessary support so they can make the most of this precious time," she said. 

"In light of this, Unicef UK is advocating for a range of family-friendly related initiatives. 

"This new policy is the first of a number of initiatives Unicef UK is implementing to advocate for equitable family-friendly provisions, ensuring our employees are supported in their family life and that our children are given the best possible start in life."

Martyn Dicker, director of people at Unicef UK, said he was keen to see policies like this become the norm and hoped that other organisations would follow Unicef’s example. 

The move comes after Save the Children UK said it would offer up to three months’ parental leave to all staff on full pay

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