Aviva unveils carer policy for UK staff

Three in five people in the UK end up caring for someone at some point in their lives

Aviva unveils carer policy for UK staff

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

With almost one in eight workers in the UK also responsible for caring for either older relatives, partners, or children with disabilities, insurer Aviva has launched a carer policy for its UK staff.

Following a successful pilot in Bristol, the newly rolled out policy will provide Aviva employees who have caring duties with a wide range of support and flexibility. An Aviva survey – conducted by Censuswide research in September 2017 – found that four out of five working carers in the UK had needed to leave work or cancel arrangements at short notice due to caring responsibilities.

The survey of more than 1,000 UK adults working across a range of industries also revealed that these employed carers devoted an average of 10 hours a week to supporting the people they care for, with about a third of respondents spending even more than 10 hours. More interestingly, 22% had not told their employers about their caring commitments, as nearly one in 10 (8%) were worried they might lose their jobs.

To give Aviva employees greater flexibility, the carer policy provides the following benefits:
  • Up to 35 hours’ paid leave per holiday year for time off for a planned event, an example of which is attending a hospital appointment with the person being cared for. 
  • Up to 35 hours’ paid leave for emergencies per holiday year.
  • Parental leave – not the same as maternity/paternity leave – allowing employees who have caring commitments to request unpaid leave up to four weeks per year per person being cared for, with cap of 18 weeks total.
  • Employees may also request to adjust their working arrangement if a more permanent change is necessary.
  • Bereavement leave adjusted from 35 to 70 hours.

“Through the pilot in our Bristol office, we’ve recognised that a significant number of our employees have caring duties,” said Andy Briggs, CEO UK insurance and global life and health at Aviva. “We’ve also carried out independent research which revealed 83% of UK carers believe they should be treated by employers in the same way as parents – for example, having the right to take up to 18 weeks unpaid leave.”

According to the Carers Trust charity, every year more than 2.1 million adults in the UK become carers – with three in five people ending up caring for someone at some point in their lives. Statistics show there are 4.27 million carers of working age living in the UK.

“The Government has already outlined plans to give workers a new statutory entitlement to carer’s leave, so the more that businesses can do to support employees right now, the better,” added Briggs, who finds it “unthinkable” that some employees do not feel able to tell managers and colleagues about their caring commitments.

The carer policy is part of a wider programme called Wellbeing@Aviva, which provides staff with a range of products, policies, and advice to support overall wellbeing.

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