Fancy a Year of Paid Leave? Richard Branson Does.

Being a Brit and having grown up in London watching Entrepreneur, Richard Branson grow Virgin from its humble beginnings as Virgin Records in Oxford Street to a global empire including Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Mobile and more recently, Virgin America, I’ve always been a staunch admirer of his willingness to do things differently and to push the envelope.  In fact, Richard Branson’s leadership style has always appealed to me because of its ‘just do it’ basis.

I’ll also make no secret of the fact that I don’t borrow some of Sir Richard’s ideologies in how I think about growing SpeediMango.  Well, his latest ideology, I believe, has the potential to be fabulous.  Especially since I strongly identify with it.

Time-Off For New Parents

When it comes to Family & Medical Leave of Absence (FMLA), typically only women qualify for paid maternity leave, leaving father’s rights around having a baby not quite on the same footing as mothers’ rights.

As a side note, the period of paid leave in the UK is far more generous than in the US, my adopted home country for the last two decades.

Well, things are changing in the UK, with the government is passing a new law shared parental leave, which will allow both mothers and fathers to share up to a year of paid leave based around having a new-born.

Branson: Have a Year-Off, Mate. On Me.

Richard Branson has gone a step further with Virgin’s leave of absence policy and offered its male employees a full year of paid paternity leave, provided they have been with Virgin for at least four years.  For less than four years of service, an employee would get only 25% of their salary.

Sir Richard’s view, “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.”

The Catch

Apparently, the offer is only open to employees of Virgin Management, which is the Virgin Group’s brand licencing and investment division and includes only 140 people in London and Geneva offices.

Despite its limited applicability for now, I believe that Branson’s adoption of such a y might create a knock-on effect, finally compelling other industry leaders to recognize the importance of family life in business.

Room For Improvement?

I also believe another way of structuring paid-leave might be to provide employees with less than four years of service 25%, 50% and 75% of their salaries for one, two and three years of service, respectively.

A Great Precedent

As SpeediMango grows, I certainly expect us to adopt a more European vacation policy as we grow.  There’s more to life than work, even if you are trying to build the next big thing or change the world!


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    By Farra Majid, June 25, 2015



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Posted by: Farra Majid on Thursday, June 25th, 2015 at 7:02 pm in LIFESTYLE