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Enhanced family leave policies introduced at Wates

Wates Group has introduced an enhancement to its paternity leave policy, increasing fully paid paternity leave from eight weeks to 12 weeks.

Reinforcing its commitment to supporting employees and their families, employees can take this leave anytime within the first two years of the child being born or adopted. The leave can be taken in blocks giving employees the choice of flexing it in a way that works for them, their families and their teams. This is now a ‘day one’ employment entitlement, meaning employees can benefit from it from the very first day of their employment.

This move places the building and property maintenance company ahead of the industry average, which currently stands at eight weeks of fully paid paternity leave and of the statutory entitlement of up to two weeks.

Paternity leave is important for promoting gender equality, with research by the Centre for Progressive Policy suggesting there is a four per cent decrease in gender wage gap in countries with more than six weeks of paid paternity leave. By offering 12 weeks of paid leave, Wates says it is not only recognising the importance of family time to its employees, but also “promoting gender equality in caregiving responsibilities”.

In addition to its paternity/partner leave policy, Wates has also made its maternity, shared parental leave and adoption and surrogacy policies a day-one employment entitlement.

Finally, Wates has also enhanced its carers leave policy. Legally, from 6 April 2024, organisations are required to provide one week’s unpaid leave (pro rata) per year to enable employees to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need. Wates who were already offering four weeks unpaid Carer Leave, has enhanced its policy to include one-week paid leave and three weeks unpaid from day one of employment.

Nikunj Upadhyay, Group Inclusion and Diversity Director at Wates, commented: “I am delighted that we are continuing to improve our family friendly offerings, especially our paternity/partner leave. These enhancements signal our commitment to creating an equitable, supportive, fair and inclusive work environment.”

The changes have been implemented following feedback from Wates staff.

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