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Published: 8 Jun 2022

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield – Finalist 2022, Best for Fathers

Logo for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield are working to create a culture which supports the needs of fathers, motivated by the understanding that those with childcare responsibilities will be more productive if their work life balance is supported.   

Policies that support fathers 

Policies that have been introduced are centred around supporting fathers to meet their caring responsibilities. From day one fathers are entitled to request flexible working and are eligible for the Enhanced Paternity Leave of four weeks full pay, which can be split into two or three periods of leave and be taken at any point before the baby’s first birthday. Enhanced Shared Parental Leave of 13 weeks full pay and 13 weeks half pay can be taken up to a year after birth. Dependants leave is paid and can be taken flexibly by the hour. Policies around pregnancy loss, surrogacy, and menopause takes account of partners too, for example two weeks fully paid Parental Bereavement Leave. 

Company-wide hybrid working allowing employees to work up to two days per week from home with core hours of 10am-4pm has supported fathers to achieve a positive work life balance, without the need to request formal flexible working. Fathers can carry over or purchase additional annual leave, helping to manage childcare or optimise time with family, and two annual paid Wellbeing Days supports mental and physical health, helping fathers to stay well.   

Workplace culture 

Support is available to fathers throughout their parenting journey, from formalised discussions about paternity and SPL options, to the Family Buddy scheme whereby new or returning parents receive peer support. Returning fathers can attend a New Parents Group Coaching Workshop with the Wellbeing Project, specifically designed for fathers and partners, and can also connect with others via the Parents Network. Any extended leave is followed up with a return-to-work plan to ease the transition. 

Line managers are trained and coached around flexible working and family policies to ensure all employees are aware of the support available. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield have had tangible success in implementing supportive policies for fathers, evident in 100% of all eligible fathers taking their full 4 weeks paternity leave entitlement and 50% of eligible fathers taking enhanced SPL, compared to the national average of 2%. Of those eligible for the New Fathers and Partners Return Coaching, 86% opted to receive it and 100% of those gave it a positive rating. 

The future 

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield plan to continue strategic culture change, with coaching for senior leaders to promote the organisational benefits of flexible working, as well as employee talks and workshops to support parents and raise awareness of support available and expanding the reach of the Parents and Carers Network.