Wates Group overhauls family-friendly benefits for 4,000 employees

Family-owned construction organisation Wates Group has announced a complete overhaul of the family-friendly policies offered to its 4,000 employees.

From 1 May 2020, the organisation will commit to making a number of significant changes including: increasing paternity and partner leave to eight weeks at full pay; increasing maternity leave to 26 weeks at full pay, and a further 26 weeks at statutory pay; introducing carer’s leave, giving all members of staff up to four weeks of unpaid leave per a year; improving bereavement leave to include two weeks of full pay.

These new and enhanced benefits align with Wates Group’s long-term targets, which it aims to achieve by 2025. These include having a workforce which is more reflective of society, with 60% men, 40% women, 20% black, Asian, and minority ethnic (Bame), 3% with a disability, and 5% LGBTQ. The organisation also plans for 50% of its early careers intake to be female, and for 5% of its new recruits to be individuals returning to work following a career break.

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, added: “Surveys of parents in the workplace indicate that men want to be more present for their children and elderly parents, but that current public policy, perceived expectations and organisational practices are barriers to this desire. We also know that one of the biggest reasons for [the] gender pay gap is that women tend to spend more time out of work in their careers due to caring responsibilities.

“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.”