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Save the Children boosts paternity leave

Save the Children, 20th November 

Save the Children has increased paternity leave from two weeks to three months at full pay, the charity announced today.

  • Charity increases paid paternity leave to three months
  • New staff equalities networks drive workplace improvement
  • Save the Children’s paternity policy now most generous in charity sector, according to survey of employers

The new policy allows all partners, regardless of gender, to take 12 weeks of paid leave during the year following their child’s birth or adoption. [1]

It represents the most generous paternity policy in the charity sector, and one of the best offered nationally, according to a survey of more than 400 UK companies and organisations, including 30 in the charity sector. [2]

The government provides Statutory Paternity Pay for a maximum of two weeks, at a flat rate of £148.68 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is less.

Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children, said:

“Increasing the leave available for parents is good for their health, child development and gender equality. We fight for that in our work around the world. This policy puts our commitment to children and their families at the heart of our culture. It’s about practicing what we preach.”

Following an independent review of workplace culture last year, Save the Children is implementing a range of measures to improve support for its workforce, driven by a staff-led change programme, new staff equalities networks and the charity’s union. [3]

Laura-Louise Fairley, Save the Children’s Accountability Manager and Co-Chair of the Parents’ Network, said:

“Mums and dads at Save the Children want to live in a society where all parents have the chance to play an active role in their baby’s first months, regardless of wealth or how their child was born. The current Shared Parental Leave system in Britain simply doesn’t work, so we came up with something better. We’re delighted Save the Children has taken this transformative step towards truly equal parenthood.”

Among the parents hoping to use the policy is Claudio Deola, a water and sanitation expert recently deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help tackle the Ebola crisis.

He said:

“I just had a baby girl, and I get sent to war zones for work. But as expats living in London, my wife and I don’t have family or any support networks around to help. So it’s a really, really worrying time. This policy could change everything. I’ll be able to spend time with my daughter, be there to support her mum, and live by the same values I fight for overseas.”

The policy has been backdated to October 1st, and is available to all employees who met the qualifying criteria on that date. It is independent of statutory parental leave polices, including Shared Parental Leave and unpaid parental leave.


For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Ruairidh Villar:



[1] Save the Children’s Paternity and Adoption policy will allow all partners, regardless of gender, to take up to two weeks of fully paid leave immediately following adoption or birth. Employees can take an additional period of up to ten weeks, either consecutively or later in the year, provided they have at least three months of service when the baby is born or adopted.

[2] The policy is the most generous paternity policy in the charity sector and ranks in the top five across all sectors nationally, measured by paid weeks of leave available to partners, according to My Family Care’s Parental Leave Policy & Reward Benchmark 2019. More than 400 companies and organisations took part in the survey, including 30 from the charity sector.

[3] Following an Independent Review of Workplace Culture in 2018, Save the Children set up a staff-led change programme called Stronger to accelerate work on line management capability, diversity & inclusion, workplace conduct and HR support. Save the Children’s workforce has also established a group of staff equalities networks (LGBT+, BAME, Gender, Disability and Parents’) which provide support to staff and challenge the organisation on staff engagement, wellbeing, policies and practice.

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