Ipswich staff at insurance giant AXA to benefit from new global policy on parental leave

The AXA offices in Civic Drive, Ipswich.

The AXA offices in Civic Drive, Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Insurance giant AXA, which employs around 1,500 people in Suffolk, is launching a world-wide policy on parental leave which will result in additional time off on full pay for new mothers and fathers within its UK workforce.

The new policy, which comes into effect from January 1, has been developed to ensure the company offers the same terms across its operations in 64 countries and to include same sex couples and adoptive and single parents.

A “primary parent” – typically, but not necessarily, a new mother – will receive 16 weeks of fully-paid leave, which for the group’s UK staff means an extra one week’s paid leave compared with current maternity provision.

A “co-parent” – typically a father – will get four weeks of leave on full pay, which in the UK means an additional three weeks of paid leave compared with the one week of paid paternity leave currently offered.

Both primary and co-parents across the group will also be able to return to an equivalent role with the same terms and conditions – which already effectively applies in the UK – and the policy also commits AXA to ensuring that new parents’ pay is not adversely affected in any other way.

David Williams, technical director for AXA Insurance, who is based at the group’s offices in Civic Drive, Ipswich, where it employs more than 1,200 people, said: “We are really pleased to be able to introduce this policy. It’s just common sense in the modern world and fits in with our broader strategy to be an accommodating, flexible and progressive employer.

“It is important that we are able to adapt to changes in society and to pre-empt demand from our employees and this new policy is the perfect example of how we want to progress in this area.”

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Besides the Ipswich operation, AXA also employs another 200-plus people in Suffolk at offices in Haverhill.

The group’s new policy also includes continued support for flexible working options for parents, wherever possible, and support before, during and after a period of parental leave including links to local childcare, private rooms at work for breastfeeding mothers and extra days’ leave to care for sick children.

Lucinda Charles-Jones, AXA UK’s human resources director, said: “This policy will enhance and standardise what we offer to employees across the group and around the world.

“In the UK the benefits offered, particularly relating to co-parental leave, ensure AXA is one of the leaders in the sector. We recognise that parental support is an important cornerstone of any employment offer and a significant competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the best talent.”