Wates Group has announced a complete overhaul of its family friendly policies, boosting parental leave and introducing carer’s leave for the first time.
The company will now offer what will be seen as a number of industry-leading benefits to staff after committing to making a number of significant changes including:
- Increasing paternity/partner leave to eight weeks full pay, more than a fourfold increase on the current policy;
- Increasing maternity leave to 26 weeks full pay, and a further 26 weeks Statutory Maternity Pay, doubling the amount of full pay staff members have access to;
- Introducing carers leave for the first time to ensure all members of staff can take up to four weeks unpaid leave in a year;
- Improving bereavement leave to include two weeks of full pay at this difficult personal time of losing a member of immediate family.
Wates will also continue to match enhanced entitlement for shared parental leave and adoption leave with maternity leave and pay.
The company says its new policies will help attract and develop a diverse workforce with an inclusive mindset, as well as helping to close the gender pay gap by enabling more sharing of responsibilities at work and home.
The new policies, says Wates, also reflect the changing expectations of talent and will enable both men and women to manage personal and professional commitments as part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
The introduction of carers leave reflects a growing reality for many in the UK. Figures from the Carers Trust show that one in 10 people in the UK are caring for friends or family equating to seven million people. The increase of the so-called sandwich generation those caring for both children and elderly parents means that three in five of us will become carers at some point in our lives.
The changes are tangible actions to help the business achieve targets set out in last year in Wates Diversity and Inclusion plan: #WatesTogether. This outlined a long-term blueprint for creating a business where everyone is welcomed, included and connected. Targets include (by 2025):
- Having a workforce which is more reflective of society, with 60% men, 40% women, 20% BAME;
- 3% with a disability and 5% LGBTQ+ across all levels of the business;
- 50% of the Groups early careers intake to be female;
- 5% of new recruits will be career returners.
The latest news comes after Wates Group announced a three-year partnership with Young Womens Trust earlier this month. The group, which is the first construction partner for Young Womens Trust, will use the partnership to help drive forward change in the industry and to support women aged 18 to 30 who are on low or no pay and are at risk of poverty. The partnership is expected to support the Young Womens Trusts ambition to help 15,000 disadvantaged women over the next three years.
David Allen, chief executive at Wates Group, said: “To be truly fit for the future and to continue to succeed, we need to become a more progressive and inclusive organisation. So, we want to give all our people the flexibility and support they need to thrive in the workplace and at home. These new policies will help us do just that. They provide support for everyone at all stages of their working lives and are tangible evidence of our commitment to being a flexible and responsible employer and to investing in all the members of our tremendous team.”
Nikunj Upadhyay, group head of diversity and inclusion at Wates Group, said: “Family friendly policies enable more equal sharing of work. These changes reflect the needs of modern families and will help us develop a diverse environment where everyone is welcomed, included and connected.”