Volvo is to offer 24 weeks’ parental leave to its employees worldwide from April 1.
Its Family Bond will give people who have worked for at least a year at its plants or offices just under six months of leave at 80 per cent of their base pay.
It applies to either parent and can be used any time within the first three years of becoming a parent. More than 40,000 workers will be eligible.
All legally registered parents, including adoptive, foster care and surrogate parents, alongside non-both parents in same-sex couples, can ask for the leave.
Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson said: ‘We want to create a culture that supports equal parenting for all genders.
‘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.’
It follows a parental leave pilot scheme launched in the EMEA region in 2019, which found that 46 per cent of all applicants were fathers.
Employees also said they appreciated the policy being gender-neutral as well as inclusive and adaptable to different needs.
Hanna Fager, head of corporate functions at Volvo Cars, said: ‘This is more than a new parental leave policy for our employees – it is the embodiment of our company culture and values.
‘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.’