Becoming a Parent Policy

Modern families come in all shapes and sizes, and as we continue our journey to become a truly diverse and inclusive organisation, our aim is to support all colleagues becoming parents, whatever their path to parenthood.

We recognise how important it is for all parents - whether you are a birth mother or father, adopting, a partner/same-sex partner, a lone parent, or intending to become a parent through a surrogacy arrangement- to have the opportunity to spend time supporting their new arrivals. From day one of employment, all permanent and fixed term colleagues becoming a parent are eligible to paid leave to help make the most out of this time.

Assistance at Every Stage

Whatever stage you are at, our Employee Assistance Programme is always available. Growing your family can be a daunting time, and we know a new child can also present challenges – be they practical, financial, personal or emotional. As a parent to be, our Employee Assistance Programme is here for you to reach out to in confidence whenever you need it. There is a suite of regularly updated information and resources to support you during your unique parenting journey. You can find details of how to access our Employee Assistance Programme on our Wellbeing Hub on eserve and on My Benefits Box via Okta.

Time Off for Appointments

All pregnant colleagues can take paid time off from work to receive the antenatal care they need. If you are adopting, and are matched with a child, the primary adopter can take paid time off on up to five occasions to attend adoption appointments. Birth fathers, partners and secondary adopters can attend two antenatal/adoption appointments as paid time off to support their partner. If any additional time off is needed, please arrange the best way to take this with your manager. If you need time off to attend other appointments, for example IVF appointments, please speak with your manager about what leave may be available to support you.

Maternity/Adoption Pay and Leave

We’re really pleased to offer all pregnant colleagues and primary adopters 13 weeks full pay and 13 weeks half pay. Colleagues who meet the government qualifying criteria are also eligible for statutory maternity/adoption pay after this enhanced pay has been taken. You can take up to 52 weeks leave, in total, to be with your new arrival.

Paternity/Partner Pay and Leave

We provide all birth fathers, partners and secondary adopters up to 5 weeks leave on full pay, and you can take this within 52 weeks of your new arrival.

Neonatal Pay and Leave

It can be a stressful time for the whole family if your baby is born premature or unwell, so we provide parents extra paid time off for neonatal care. All parents can take up to two weeks of Neonatal Leave at full pay. This is in addition to any other Parental Leave and pay you may be entitled to (e.g Maternity/Paternity) to enable you to spend vital time with your baby without the worry of returning to work or missing out on time at home with your baby.

Unexpected Circumstances

There are many paths to parenthood and we recognise the journey to parenthood isn’t always smooth.

Losing a pregnancy can leave families feeling shocked and distressed. Many people consider miscarriage a bereavement. If miscarriage happens in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, all parents can take up to two weeks paid leave.

If your baby is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy, or is born alive and later dies, parents are eligible for either Maternity/Adoption Pay and Leave, or Paternity/Partner Pay and Leave. After this is finished parents can take up to two weeks of paid Parental Bereavement Leave.

We also understand it can be devasting if an adoption falls through. More information on how we can support you with any unexpected circumstances can be found in the Becoming a Parent Guide.

Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave allows you to split a period of up to 50 weeks leave and up to 37 weeks statutory pay with your partner, giving you greater flexibility in how you share your childcare responsibilities during the first year after birth/adoption. If you are considering taking Shared Parental Leave, the Becoming a Parent Guide explains your entitlements to statutory pay, eligibility and notice requirements.

Notice is Key

To help us plan for your absence, you’ll need to provide adequate notice of when you intend to take leave. If you are taking Maternity or Adoption leave, we ask you to give at least 8 weeks’ notice of the date you’d like to return to work so your manager can plan ahead and help you prepare. The Becoming a Parent Guide has full details of what notice is required, the key milestones and what you can expect from esure.

Supporting New Parents

Becoming a parent is one of the biggest changes our lives can undergo as adults, and we understand the importance of enabling a well-supported period of leave and confident return to work. Once you’ve informed us that you are becoming a parent, we‘ll use our digital platform to support you with information, prompts and reminders before your leave begins. We’ll ask about how we can communicate with you during your leave, so you and your manager can keep in touch in a way that works for both parties, so that when it comes to returning to work, you’ll be confident of a smooth transition.

Keeping in Touch

A Keeping In Touch (KIT) or Shared Parental Leave In Touch (SPLIT) day allows you to choose to work for up to 10 days during the course of maternity or adoption leave. If you have opted to take shared parental leave you may take up to 20 SPLIT days. You will be paid for a day’s work for each KIT or SPLIT day that you take. Always agree KIT or SPLIT days with your manager in advance.

Flexible Working Options

The support for new parents doesn’t stop at Parental Leave. We recognise that flexible working is another valuable way in which colleagues can attain the work-life balance they need, and so when considering your return to work, you may also want to consider applying for a form of flexible working,
for example reduced or amended working hours. Further details are available in the Flexible Working Policy on eserve.

Taking Time off to Deal with Family Emergencies

Sometimes the unexpected happens. If your child falls ill or your childcare falls through, you are entitled to take a reasonable period of unpaid leave to care for them or make the necessary arrangements for them to be cared for (this is called dependants leave). You should inform your manager as soon as practical that you will not be attending work and, wherever possible, provide an indication of how long you expect to be on leave. If unpaid leave is impractical, remember that it may be possible to come to an alternative arrangement with your manager such as taking annual leave instead.

Spending Time with Your Child

Parents can also choose to take up to 18 weeks of unpaid leave to spend time with their child, for instance to settle them into new childcare arrangements or to look after them during school holidays. This 18 week allowance covers the full period from birth up until your child’s 18th birthday, for each child, you can take a maximum of 4 weeks per year. Eligibility and notice requirements for unpaid Parental Leave are outlined in the Becoming a Parent Guide.

Tax Free Childcare

The Government has introduced a Tax Free Childcare scheme. More information can be found by visiting and searching ‘Tax Free Childcare’.

Whatever the pathway to parenthood, through this policy we aim to support all colleagues in their journey to becoming a parent and successfully making the transition back into the workplace.

A table summarising the different types of leave and pay provided is found in Appendix 1.

APPENDIX 1 Parental Leave and Pay Entitlement 

Type of LeaveLeave EntitlementPay Entitlement
Maternity LeaveUp to 52 weeksWeeks 1 to 13 full pay
Weeks 14 to 26 half pay
Weeks 27 to 39 Statutory Maternity Pay*
Weeks 40 to 52 unpaid
Adoption LeaveUp to 52 weeksWeeks 1 to 13 full pay
Weeks 14 to 26 half pay
Weeks 27 to 39 Statutory Adoption Pay*
Weeks 40 to 52 unpaid
Paternity/Partner LeaveUp to 5 weeks**Full pay
Shared Parental LeaveUp to 50 weeks**Up to 37 weeks Statutory Shared Parental Pay
Neonatal LeaveUp to 2 weeks in addition to Maternity, Adoption, Paternity or Partner LeaveFull pay
Leave due to unexpected circumstances e.g. pregnancy lossUp to 2 weeks. This can be taken after taking Maternity, Adoption, Paternity or Partner Leave where applicable.Full pay
Parental Bereavement LeaveUp to 2 weeksFull pay
Family EmergenciesReasonable time off to deal with the emergencyUnpaid
Unpaid Parental Leave18 weeks in total per child (max 4 weeks per year)Unpaid

*Subject to the government qualifying criteria
**Further information is available in the Becoming a Parent Guide