Aviva slashes sick pay for long-serving staff

An Aviva sign

Exclusive: Aviva is set to halve company sick pay for staff who have been at the financial services firm for two years or more.

Under the change, employees who had been entitled to 52 weeks of sick leave on full basic pay will instead be permitted 26 weeks before moving on to statutory sick pay.

The insurer confirmed the new policy will be in place from 1 July.

A spokesperson for Aviva told Post: “We’re making some changes to our company sick pay. It is still a good benefit for our colleagues but we have balanced it better between supporting our colleagues while being more in line with other employers. From 1 July 2021, colleagues with two years’ service or more will get company sick pay of 26 weeks’ full basic salary, followed by any remaining statutory sick pay.”

The spokesperson further pointed to the group’s income protection policy, which they said “is there to support our people in returning to work and also financially for some long term absences of up to five years”.

Post received an anonymous tip, claiming to be from Aviva insiders, expressing dismay at the move to cut sick pay during a pandemic.

It was claimed that the insurance giant had not consulted with staff on the changes.

The Aviva spokesperson rebuffed this allegation, adding: “Before we announced these changes, we consulted widely with our people. Employee wellbeing continues to be Aviva’s priority, and we have a strong benefits package to support our people.”

They listed several employee benefits provided by the insurer, including a 24/7 advice service, a 24/7 free personal GP service, access to mental wellbeing support and six months’ equal parental leave at full basic pay.

The insurer, which did not furlough any staff during the pandemic, is scheduled to host its annual general meeting on Thursday.

This is Money has reported that Aviva could face an “investor revolt” at its AGM over its decision not to claw back fees from directors involved in its 2018 preference share blunder and u-turn under former CEO Mark Wilson. Cliff Weight, of investors’ group Sharesoc, has reportedly urged shareholders to vote against Aviva’s pay policy and report.

The insurer is now led by CEO Amanda Blanc, who took over from Wilson’s successor Maurice Tulloch following his surprise exit due to family health reasons last July.

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Between 15 March and 15 May Post invited insurance employees, through emails, social media and via the brand’s print and online channels, to nominate and rate their employers on a variety of aspects including their management, diversity, work/life balance and whether they would recommend the employer to a friend. More than 2300 responses were received and more than 50 firms were nominated.

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