Expectant mothers who work for Vets Now are to receive full pay for up to six months when they go on maternity leave.
The UK’s leading provider of emergency and critical care has also confirmed that new fathers will be given up to four weeks’ paternity leave on full pay.
The policy changes came into force this month and staff who’ve been with Vets Now for at least two years will be eligible for the enhanced package.
Women who joined the company within the past two years will receive three months full pay, plus three months half pay if they go on maternity leave.
After six months statutory rates will be paid.
Mark Ross, CEO of Vets Now, said: “Several staff wrote to me about this issue and I agreed to look into it.
“Our previous maternity policy was six weeks full pay, six weeks half pay, followed by statutory rates, while men received 1.5 weeks of full paternity pay, so this is a huge leap forward. The changes cover maternity leave, shared parental leave, adoption and surrogacy.
“Our business has been tremendously successful in the past few years, thanks to the incredible hard work of our people, and we’re always looking at innovative ways of reinvesting our profits back into the business so it’s our people who benefit most.
“We’re also hoping to put in place other improvements and among the initiatives we’re looking at are providing better support for staff returning to work after a period of leave, better provisions for nursing mums, a dedicated resource for parents who are struggling, and additional leave during the first year of returning to work.
“We want to make Vets Now a great place to work for all of our staff, no matter what stage they’re at in life.”
At Vets Now, 88 percent of its 1500-plus staff are female and, currently, 39 are on maternity leave. The company last year increased holiday allowances for all staff and has reduced contracted hours for vets and vet nurses in each of the past two years.
It also gives staff their birthday off and runs an Angel Fund scheme which provides vets with an annual allowance of up to £1000 to save the lives of critically-ill pets whose owners cannot afford treatment costs.
By law, women workers in the UK are entitled to 90 percent of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of maternity leave and then £151.20 or 90 percent, whichever is lower, for up to 33 weeks thereafter.
Statutory paternity pay is up to two weeks long and is paid at the lower of £151.20 per week, or 90 percent of average earnings.
Vets Now is the UK’s leading provider of emergency veterinary care for small animals, with 60+ out-of-hours clinics nationwide and 24/7 hospitals operating in Glasgow and Manchester.
Established in 2001, the company works with 1,700 daytime veterinary practices, providing a seamless emergency service for owners when they need it most, and last year treated around 200,000 pets.
Vets Now joined IVC Evidensia, Europe’s leading veterinary care provider, in 2019, although it continues to operate independently.