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Aviva: New Equal Pay Parental Leave Policy

Category: Industry News, Aviva, experience, shared parental leave, parenting initiative at aviva, parental leave policy

The word parental leave on red VERCIDA branded background.

Ben Jackson is one of the first dads at Aviva to take up our new parental leave policy where both men and women are entitled to equal amounts of paid leave. Here he shares his experience of spending more than just the usual two weeks of paternity leave with his new-born Freddie.

BOOM! The reality of being a stay-at-home parent has punched me full on in the jaw. It’s really draining.

I’ve done the new dad thing before — nearly three years ago. But first time round I went back to work after two weeks and got to drink hot cups of tea, eat my lunch in peace and get back to normality. This time both my wife and I are at home. I thought I was in for a full six month’s triathlon training — let’s just say I was wrong!

Today marks our new baby Freddie’s fourth week which has passed by in the blink of an eye. The first couple of weeks I actually felt frustrated at the sheer number of appointments we were required to attend. I’m grateful we live in a society where we are given this support. But I can’t shy away from the fact that this took up a great deal of time in the first two weeks.

Travelling to a midwife here and a GP there, and back here again for a specialist. The reality is, this two week period is a marking point for many fathers as it means getting back to work. This is often before you’ve even settled into a routine with your new baby and had a chance to properly bond.

I’m one of the lucky few who gets to spend time with my baby after this first two-week period because Aviva offers both men and women in the UK 26 weeks paid leave after the arrival of a new child.

I’m now counting my blessings as I feel that our chance to bond in just a few weeks would have been minimal.

I am only just starting to form that bond with Freddie and am really excited about spending some quality time with him while he’s a baby. I may be guilty of passing him over to mum when he gets a bit fidgety — ‘oh I think he wants some boob!’. But I’m getting there and actually feel much more comfortable in soothing the wee man when he starts to kick up a fuss.

It’s about practice and it takes time. To some it may be just holding a baby, but really it is more than that. Creating that early bond is crucial to parent and baby, and is an opportunity I will relish in the coming weeks and months.

By far the biggest winner so far is the relationship between Oliver (my toddler) and me. He has turned into a real daddy’s boy and I love having this freedom to take him places, teach him things and watch him develop. I’ve been able to take him to regular play group sessions, swimming lessons and now we are enrolled into some midweek gymnastics. Love it! It’s time to make some memories and have some fun along the way.

Having children is a fantastic thing — despite the lack of sleep! Being a part of every step in their development is such an amazing opportunity and one that I welcome with open arms. Even if it means putting the triathlon training plan on hold (for now).

Are you interested in a career with Aviva? Please click here!


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