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March 30, 2021

The Family Bond by Volvo Cars: Parental leave for everyone

In our new, ground-breaking policy, we’re opting all Volvo Cars employees across the globe into 24 weeks of paid parental leave, as of April 1, 2021.

The Family Bond by Volvo Cars is our new all-gender, paid parental leave policy – with this, we give all Volvo Cars employees with at least one year's service 24 weeks of parental leave at 80 per cent of their base pay by default.


"This is more than a new parental leave policy for our employees – it's the embodiment of our company culture and values," says Hanna Fager, head of corporate functions.


The global policy is inspired by national legislation in our home market of Sweden, and it's more inclusive and supportive than many existing policies around the world. This is the case for both the US and China, where many of our colleagues live.


It applies to either parent and is suited for a diverse variety of family types, as it includes adoptive, foster care and surrogate parents, as well as non-birth parents in same-sex couples.


On the whole, this is a striking contrast to some countries' policies, where new parents might get no paid leave, or where certain groups of parents are excluded. The latter is particularly true for fathers.


"We want to create a culture that supports equal parenting roles for all genders," says our CEO Håkan Samuelsson. "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."


By providing equal career opportunities for all our colleagues, we believe that our workforce can become more inclusive and diverse. In turn, this will not only make us a more attractive employer, but also perform better – both as individuals and as a company.


"We want to lead change in this industry and set a new global people standard," says Hanna Fager. "By opting all our employees into paid parental leave we narrow the gender gap and we get a more diverse workforce, boosting performance and strengthening our business."


We have been driven by our values for a long time, and this is another way for us to prove it. Today, people choose brands that not only express the same values that they have, but also show it through concrete actions. Our belief is that the policy is not only the right thing to do from an equality perspective, but also from a business perspective.


"We have always been a family-oriented and human-centric company," says Håkan Samuelsson. "Through this parental leave policy, we are demonstrating and living our values, which in turn will strengthen our brand."


When studying the outcome of our EMEA parental leave pilot, we found that employees appreciated the policy for being available to all genders, inclusive and adaptable to personal needs.


When launching the policy globally, we want to build on these highlights and encourage even more of us to take up the offer. Going forward, we want to make parental leave for both parents the new 'norm'. 


To encourage uptake of parental leave, we are focusing on how we talk about it within the company. By presenting the 24 weeks parental leave as a pre-selected option, we want to create a 'default effect' – this means that we are highly likely to stick with pre-selected options. Ambiguous language, such as 'up to 24 weeks', is avoided as we tend to predict negative outcomes when there is uncertainty.


By using an approach like this, alongside several other communication-based measures, we want to remove confusion and cultural barriers, and provide parents with certainty.


Taking the 24 weeks is not mandatory, but we want employees to feel fully supported in taking the full leave.


You can watch the Family Bond at Volvo Cars film here.


Additional notes: This global policy is now the minimum standard for parental leave across Volvo Car Group. In any countries where the local regulations offer a more generous parental leave, local regulations will take precedence.