All Volvo staff who have spent at least a year at the company will get 24 weeks of parental leave from the start of April.
The ‘Family Bond’ policy will give employees 80% of their basic pay for that period regardless of gender, the leave to be taken any time within the first three years of parenthood.
Volvo employs more than 40,000 people around the world. Currently, female employees are entitled to six months off work but the company follows local laws when it comes to time off for new fathers.
“We want to create a culture that supports equal parenting for all genders,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo’s chief executive. “When parents are supported to balance the demands of work and family, it helps to close the gender gap and allows everyone to excel in their careers.
“We have always been a family-oriented and human-centric company. Through the Family Bond programme, we are demonstrating and living our values, which in turn will strengthen our brand.”
The move follows legislation brought in by Sweden, Volvo’s native country, as well as a pilot scheme that took place in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region in 2019: 46% of people who applied for parental leave in the trial were fathers.
Volvo’s parental leave allowance applies to all legally registered, adoptive and surrogate parents, as well as foster carers. Non-birth parents and same-sex couples are eligible, too.
The company has also laid out a set of measures to encourage uptake and promised to share its results with other companies in the hope that more firms will adopt similar policies.
“This is more than a new parental leave policy for our employees. It is the embodiment of our company culture and values,” said Hanna Fager, head of corporate functions at Volvo. “We want to lead change in this industry and set a new global people standard. By opting all our employees into paid parental leave, we narrow the gender gap and get a more diverse workforce, boosting performance and strengthening our business.”