Natwest – Finalist 2023, Best for Fathers sponsored by Babbu
Natwest demonstrates understanding of the huge transition involved in fatherhood. Their equal parenting policy also supports wider cultural change by promoting a shared approach to childcare responsibilities.
Fathers and partners are supported throughout their parenthood journey in a number of ways via a new Partner Leave Policy. Leave is offered for birth, surrogacy or adoption at 24 weeks full pay, 15 weeks at the equivalent to statutory maternity pay and 13 weeks unpaid, mirroring the offer to mothers in terms of leave and pay. Driving the policy is the long-term goal that fathers take the same amount of leave as mothers, normalising shared parenting. Aligned to a mothers experience, fathers are also offered paid Keeping in Touch days during leave, and a buddy or sponsor is in place to keep connected to key business updates. To support the transition back to work phased returns are offered over a period of up to 12 weeks, fully paid regardless of hours worked.
A Flexible Working Policy makes a range of flexible options available to fathers, and a hybrid working approach provides the flexibility to manage parenting responsibilities such as pick-ups and drop-offs without guilt or pressure. Senior leaders model taking time with their family, including extended periods at various points of childhood, which is supported by the Parental Leave Policy that gives all parents the option to take extended leave up until a child’s 18th birthday. The role of senior leaders is seen as valuable in signalling support that fathers prioritise family and are committed to fathers taking an active role in parenting without it having a detrimental effect on their career. The proactive Employee Led Network for families and carers gives a voice to families and offers support throughout all stages of parenthood to enable them to thrive.
Measure of success
The promotion of the policy on social media got an overwhelmingly positive response, which in itself helped to promote shared parental responsibility and set an example for others to follow. Since its introduction, the take up of Partner Leave has matched maternity leave at 6%, with the average length of leave being requested 23 weeks. Natwest’s long-term goal is that the length of time taken by fathers mirrors that of mothers.