University of the Arts London updates parental pay and leave

University of the Arts LondonUniversity of the Arts London (UAL) has updated its parental pay and leave provision to provide equality regardless of gender, sexual orientation or how staff become parents.

Salaried employees and hourly paid lecturers are now entitled to 26 weeks of full maternity and paternity pay, with the continuous service requirement reduced from 12 months to 26 weeks. The policy was guided by feedback and consultations with staff and trade unions.

According to UAL, it launched the new policy due to evidence outlining how equal parental leave benefits parents, children and the economy, and because social purpose is at the heart of its strategy, which was developed by and with staff.

In addition, the employer stated that these commitments were part of a move towards a truly equal and inclusive workplace and an environment that champions flexibility, support and improved work-life balance for parents.

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Naina Patel, chief people officer at University of the Arts London, said: “Our new equal parental leave policy has been designed to support 21st century families, it signifies UAL’s commitment to challenge gender inequality and outdated cultural perceptions about traditional family roles. The provision of fair parental policies is also fundamental for attracting and retaining skilled and experienced talent within our workforce, particularly as we face historically high turnover rates within the UK higher education sector.”

Polly Mackenzie, chief social purpose officer at UAL, added: “At the heart of UAL’s social purpose strategy is a commitment to pioneer changes that can help solve society’s problems. We hope this move will inspire other organisations to introduce equal parental leave and contribute to a country in which gender no longer determines your earning potential.”