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Published: 26 Aug 2016

Santander, Finalist 2016, The Centrica Best for Modern Families Award

Key features

  • Santander has introduced an early extension of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) to grandparents, a scheme that is widely believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
  • Grandparents will now receive the same benefits as women on maternity leave and partners taking SPL, with 16 weeks of full pay provided
  • Santander is a family-based organisation with generations of family members working at the company, making them well placed to implement grandparental SPL.
  • Although only recently launched, several families have expressed interest in this new scheme

At Santander, the latest innovation in the area of family leave and flexible working, with a specific focus on modern families, is the introduction of a grandparent extension to Shared Parental Leave (SPL). This scheme is designed for employees who are expecting or adopting a child and wish to share their parental leave with their parents who must also work at Santander UK.

Improvements in healthcare are leading to longer working lives and this, combined with Santander’s culture and heritage as a family-based organisation, means that Santander is seeing multi-generational working, including more generations of the same family working at the company. This scheme comes before the government extension of SPL to include grandparents. Santander believes it will enable their employees to exercise a greater degree of choice and control over their parental leave and childcare arrangements.

Alongside this greater flexibility, Santander is also introducing an enhancement to their maternity pay that will entitle employees taking maternity leave to 16 weeks of full pay. This provision will be matched for grandparents and partners who take SPL.

Santander suggest they have always encouraged individuals to talk to their managers about flexible and agile working, to support their caring responsibilities, appointments, religious and faith events and community commitments. By introducing the grandparent extension to SPL, the company aims to give employees even greater flexibility, freedom and choice both professionally and financially. They believe this initiative reflects the needs of modern families, where multiple generations are in work and responsibility for childcare is more likely to be shared.

Santander is proud to be an employer that their employees would recommend to their families as a good place to work, and evidence of the inclusive philosophy is seen in the demand from new parents who would like to split parental leave with family members who are also bank employees. This philosophy is seen throughout the company, in the major offices and in the 857 local branches.

Although the grandparent extension to SPL only launched in January 2016, the company is already in discussions with several employees who have expressed interest. The company is keen to be instigating the UK’s first case of a new mother sharing her maternity leave with a grandparent.

As with all their flexible working requests, Santander is monitoring how many requests are being made and how line managers are responding. This will enable them to ensure managers are being supported and that requests are being treated consistently.  In the 2015 Global Engagement Survey 82 per cent of people at Santander UK said that ‘their immediate line manager provides flexibility in the team’.  They will also promote positive examples of where flexible working is mutually beneficial for the individual and the business.
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