In a move that eclipses pretty much every other company’s paternity and maternity package, Richard Branson has announced that employees – both men and women – of Virgin Management will be entitled to a full year’s parental leave on full pay. The offer is extended to those who adopt too.
The policy goes far beyond the new Shared Parental Leave rules which were brought in this year, whereby parents can divide up 50 weeks between them on statutory pay for the bulk of the time.
Branson’s offer applies to around 140 staff at the company’s offices in London and Geneva, with those who have been at the company for four years rewarded with their full pay. Staff who have been employed by Virgin Management for less than two years will receive 25 percent of their wage, which is still considerably more generous than many other firms.
The entrepreneur explained that he understood how magical the first year of a baby’s life is and stated that “if you take care of your employees they will take care of your business.”
Some commentators have been a bit sniffy about the small scale of the experiment but surely it’s a good start and hopefully, along with Branson’s intriguing unlimited holiday policy, might kickstart a revolution in how we work as a nation and, in particular, how that affects our relationships with our children.