Volvo’s employees will be offered 24 weeks of parental leave from next month.

Affecting the Swedish firm’s 40,000 employees across the globe and in all of its plants and offices, the move – titled ‘Family Bond’ – will give all of those members of staff who have worked for at least a year at the company a total of 24 weeks of leave at 80 per cent of their base pay.

Applicable to either parent, it can be utilised at any time within the first three years of parenthood.

The announcement covers all legally registered parents, including adoptive, foster care and surrogate parents, as well as non-birth partners in same-sex couples.

Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars, 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.”

Volvo launched a pilot scheme to investigate parental leave back in 2019. It discovered that 46 per cent of applicants were fathers and also found that employees appreciated the scheme’s gender-neutral and inclusive policy.

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.”