Credit: D@LY3D/Flickr

Richard Branson is giving Virgin staff full pay for parental leave

It's a better idea than the billionaire's 'unlimited holiday' policy.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2015

Sir Richard Branson could well be parents’ dream boss today, after Virgin Management announced it will offer staff who take shared parental leave up to a full year’s pay.

The investment and brand licensing arm of the billionaire’s Virgin Group, which employs around 140 people in London and Geneva, is giving all parents, including adopters, up to 100% of their pay for the 52-week period of shared leave. The proportion depends on the length of time they have worked for Branson: from 25% for less than two years, up to the full whack for more than four years.

The Government introduced a new policy letting partners share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of maternity pay in April. But statutory wages are still only the lower of £139.58 or 90% of an employee’s average weekly earnings. That incentivises the higher earner, which is still usually the father, to stay at work.

‘If you take care of your employees they will take care of your business. As a father and now a granddad to three wonderful grandchildren, I know how magical the first year of a child’s life is but also how much hard work it takes,’ Branson said.

‘I’m delighted that we can offer this support to our staff so that they can enjoy parental leave to the full as we continue to our work in changing business for good.’

It’s a saccharine statement, but for once this policy is substance as well as spin (unlike Old Beardy’s policy of offering his staff unlimited holiday). By allowing mothers and fathers a more balanced choice over who holds the baby, Branson is doling out a welcome boost for gender equality (probably as long as they're willing to accompany their boss on one of his publicity stunts).

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

What happens to your business if you get COVID-19?

Three bosses who caught coronavirus share their tips.

NextGen winners: The firms that will lead Britain's recovery

Agility, impact and vision define our next generation of great companies.

Furlough and bias: An open letter to business leaders facing tough decisions

In moments of stress, business leaders default to autopilot behaviours, with social structural prejudices baked...

The ‘cakeable’ offence: A short case study in morale-sapping management

Seemingly trivial decisions can have a knock-on effect.

Customer service in a pandemic: The great, the good and the downright terrible ...

As these examples show, the best businesses put humanity first.

How D&I can help firms grow during a crisis

Many D&I initiatives will be deprioritised, postponed or cancelled altogether in the next three months....