Banking organisation Santander offers a variety of support for its 19,800 UK employees to ensure its parental support offering is inclusive to all.
As part of its parental leave policy, Santander provides up to 52 weeks of maternity, primary carer and adoption leave, regardless of how long an employee has been in their role. The first 26 weeks of this is fully paid if they have worked at Santander for at least 26 weeks when they enter the 15th week before the week a baby is due or placed for adoption.
Employees must be the spouse, civil partner, partner or intended parent through surrogacy to be eligible for paternity leave, which is five fully-paid weeks. Three of these weeks are available regardless of how long they have been in their role and can be taken at any time in the first year after a child is born or adopted. The other two weeks comprise the statutory entitlement and must be taken within eight weeks of the birth or adoption.
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If a baby is born prematurely before 37 weeks, maternity leave and pay is increased by the number of weeks the baby is born before the expected week of childbirth. Secondary caregivers are entitled to two weeks of paid compassionate leave in this instance. In addition, the employer offers up to 26 weeks shared parental leave, which should be taken within 52 weeks of the birth or adoption placement. The primary caregiver can also share their leave with their child’s grandparent if they also work for Santander.
Drew Gibson, head of inclusion, belonging and wellbeing at Santander, explains: “As well as looking at a typical journey, we are also providing similar support no matter what employees’ journey to becoming parents looks like.
“Where we offer time off for medical appointments, we also offer time off for fostering, fertility and adoption appointments. We’ve worked with external support to receive foster-friendly employer accreditation, have become pregnancy champions with Tommy’s and signed the Smallest Things Employer With Heart charter to offer premature baby support.”
Santander ranked in the top 30 of Working Families’ Parental leave benchmark, which was published in September 2023 and also made Stonewall’s Workplace quality index. All of its parental leave policies are published on its external website and internal intranet to position itself as an inclusive employer for prospective and current employees.
Its aim as an organisation, and a key part of its employee value proposition, is to be a place where people feel like they belong and to support them in the moments that matter the most. The bank also wants to ensure that its parental leave works towards gender equality, understanding that caring responsibilities are still unequal and that this is a barrier to equal career and experience outcomes.
“We regularly update our policies in terms of the language used to ensure they are inclusive. Our LGBTQ+ network Embrace, Family and Carers network, a member of the inclusion team and external stakeholders and specialists from Stonewall help to review policies each year. We ensure that we’re hearing the voices and lived experiences of our people and factor this in, while also encouraging take-up,” Gibson says.