In response to the latest national lockdown restrictions, Zurich UK is offering two weeks paid leave for parents who face childcare emergencies following the closure of schools.

With the UK plunged into a third lockdown, the insurer is offering fully paid time off for employees to help them balance work and childcare commitments or other caring responsibilities.  This will benefit more than one in five of Zurich’s 4,500 UK employees with children.

The new approach allows employees to take an additional 10 days paid leave while primary and secondary schools remain shut.  The days can be taken individually, or consecutively.

Steve Collinson, Zurich’s Head of HR, said: “With schools closed, working parents will be frantically trying to juggle their jobs and childcare responsibilities.  We already offer flexibility for employees who want to change their working hours or structure some days differently.  But for parents trying to balance work, childcare and home schooling, this may not be enough.  We’re helping our employees get through this crisis by offering mums and dads paid time-off so they can look after their health and their family.  This is also available for anyone with other caring commitments.”

Zurich has implemented a number of measures since March 2020 to ensure the wellbeing of its employees:

  • Free antibody tests for all 4,500 UK staff, their partners and anyone over the age of 18 living at their house.
  • Car park season tickets refunds for all employees until the offices open again, completely at Zurich’s expense
  • Option to reduce pension salary sacrifice for the year
  • Option to sell holiday back to the company
  • The provision of additional free office equipment to ensure safe and effective working from home
  • Launch of a wellbeing hub which includes Babylon, a virtual GP provider for all staff and families
  • Reduced childcare vouchers to just £1
  • Emergency loan of up to £750 per person available 72 hours following approval
  • Access to Lifeworks which includes access to advice and counselling, well-being assessments and coaching programmes

Zurich already offers a number of family friendly benefits, including:

  • Equalised company enhanced elements of maternity, paternity and adoption leave, with up to 16 weeks full-pay for all parents.
  • Additional support for families whose children are born prematurely with extra paid leave for the premature period
  • Paid leave to support through the IVF process
  • Paid leave to support people with miscarriage
  • A new bereavement and compassionate leave policy.
  • Advertises all jobs as available part-time, full-time or job share
  • Flex work with 75% enjoying working from home and various sites across the business pre-pandemic.