’It’s important that we level the playing field by offering an equal parental leave package,’ says chief HR officer 

The majority of new fathers would like to spend more time off with their newborns.

That was according to new data from Zurich, which showed that three quarters of new fathers would like to take up to 12 weeks off work at this time.

However, the figures, which come in the run up to Fathers Day, show that half of new fathers take just two weeks off with their newborns.

Some 15% said they were concerned that taking extended paternity leave would be frowned upon by their boss, while 12% felt it would impact career progression

And of those that didn’t take any time at all, seven out of 10 said they could not afford it.

Zurich surveyed 1,000 news fathers for the research, which was published on 13 June 2024.

Steve Collinson, chief HR officer at Zurich UK, said: “It’s important that we level the playing field by offering an equal parental leave package.

”This means our dads can share special time with their newborns and split the paternity leave as they need it.”


Back in 2019, Zurich launched “family friendly” policies for its UK employees, which included equalised maternity, paternity and adoptive leave of up to 16 weeks with full pay.

The insurer also introduced a bereavement and compassionate leave policy, as well as paid leave to staff who undergo IVF or suffer a miscarriage.

Since 2019, around 20,000 days of paternity leave have been taken by Zurich employees and nearly 10% more fathers have taken more paternity leave compared to mothers taking maternity leave over the same period.

Collinson said: “We’re able to retain our talent as we give parents the time to bond with their family, without rushing them back into work or expecting them to take time from their annual leave.

“It’s clear to see how important balancing shared parental responsibilities are, as paid paternity leave rates so highly when considering a company’s benefits package.”

Case study 

Will Edwards and family

Will Edwards, head of SME, specialities and partnerships at Zurich, and his wife Lauren have a nine-month-old daughter called Olivia.

Edwards took 16 weeks paid parental leave when Olivia was born by c-section in September 2023, before returning to work in January 2024. 

Edwards said: “Having four months off fully paid was incredible.  We were able to bond, just the four of us, the dog being the fourth member.

”We went to a variety of baby classes and even managed to squeeze in a week away.  As a dad, you don’t usually get to attend these classes as you generally only get two weeks off.  

”I was able to witness how she developed and responded over that 16 weeks and clearly see how quickly she changed – which I now realise is unbelievably fast.”