Mobile network and phone retailer O2 has announced it will increase its paid paternity leave to 14 weeks for all permanent employees, effective from 1 April 2019.
The new policy, which moves away from traditional two-week paternity policies, has been introduced to ensure all partners have the support and flexibility to spend time with their new family. The extended paternity policy is said to cover heterosexual and same-sex couples, as well as adoptive and surrogate partners.
New parents working in the mobile network operator’s retail stores will also be entitled to the three and a half-month extended paternity leave with full company pay, in what the company describes as “one of the best packages offered to retail workers”.
O2 previously offered a maximum of two weeks’ paid paternity leave. Employees taking maternity leave will continue to be entitled to take up to 39 week’s paid leave and the same amount of adoption leave.
A report published last year by Incomes Data Research highlighted that only 9% of employers offer more than the two-week statutory paternity leave entitlement to employees.
Ann Pickering, chief HR officer and chief of staff at O2, said: “Giving new parents the flexibility to spend more time at home when having a child is part and parcel of modern day parenting. We know that families come in all shapes and sizes and understand the importance of ensuring that we give all new parents the opportunity to spend valuable time supporting their new family.
“We don’t want our people to feel as though they have to choose between their career and bringing up a family.”
She added: “We are committed champions on flexible working which is key for promoting a more diverse, balanced and inclusive culture. We’ve seen that encouraging flexible working has a direct impact on motivating and retaining the best people, as well as attracting top talent to our business.”