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52 Weeks of Paid Parental Leave


15 June 2015 at 12:06 pm
Xavier Smerdon
A major airline has unveiled a paid parental leave scheme that is being heralded as one of the most generous in the world.

Xavier Smerdon | 15 June 2015 at 12:06 pm


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52 Weeks of Paid Parental Leave
15 June 2015 at 12:06 pm

A major airline has unveiled a paid parental leave scheme that is being heralded as one of the most generous in the world.

Virgin founder Richard Branson announced last week that his staff would be entitled to an entire year of shared paid parental leave, regardless of their gender.

The move will mean that staff members that take advantage of the UK’s new Shared Parental Leave legislation will receive 100 per cent of their wage for 52 weeks.

Shared Parental Leave came into force in the UK on April 5 2015. It is available to working parents in the first year following the birth or adoption of a child, and is designed to give parents more flexibility to share childcare responsibilities.

As part of its benefits package, Virgin Management – the investment and brand licensing office at the heart of the Virgin Group – will allow parents, including adoptive parents and irrespective of gender, to receive up to 100 per cent of their basic salary over the 52 week period of shared parental leave.

The pay is service-related, from 25 per cent for those with fewer than two years’ service, up to 100 per cent for those with more than four years’ service.

“We pride ourselves on our family-friendly and home/work life policies – from parental leave and unlimited leave to flexible working,” Josh Bayliss, CEO at Virgin Management said.

“The introduction of the new Shared Parental Leave legislation was a great opportunity for us to review our existing maternity, paternity and adoption benefits, and offer something special to our people.

“This is a ground-breaking move from Virgin Management, which demonstrates that the health and wellbeing of our people is at our core. Having a child is a life-changing experience and this policy means our employees have the opportunity to enjoy time with their families and have a great career.”

Branson added: “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. 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 our work in changing business for good.”

However Forbes reported that there were some catches in Virgin’s announcement.

“In a sprawling worldwide group with 50,000 employees, the policy applies to fewer than 140 employees in London and Geneva who work for Virgin Management, the company’s investment and brand licensing arm,” Forbes said.

“Employees who take parental leave are eligible for the full salary benefit only if they’ve worked there for at least four years. Those who have put in a minimum of two years can take the full year of leave but at just 25 per cent of their salary.”


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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