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Published: 26 Jun 2024

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield – Finalist 2024, Best for Mothers

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s (URW) commitment to enabling women who are at every stage of the parenting journey to achieve the best possible balance between work and home life has resulted in an offer of wide-ranging support that empowers working mothers to evolve their careers and advances URW’s aim to be an employer of choice.  

Progressive policies 

URW have an extensive suite of policies that support women to embark on motherhood whilst maintaining a career. Women who have completed a year of service are eligible for 13 weeks full and 13 weeks half maternity pay. Policies on menopause, surrogacy and baby loss give clarity and consistency in challenging circumstances, including enhanced parental bereavement leave and pay available for parents who have suffered pregnancy loss at any stage, irrespective of service. Paid dependents leave is available to help manage commitments outside of work and can be taken in days or hours. Two days of paid wellbeing leave is available per year that can help to support mental and physical health. 

During maternity leave, buddies and line managers keep in contact to provide advice, support and information on business changes or updates. URW understand the value of a good work-life balance for both wellbeing and productivity; at a return-to-work meeting discussions include flexible working requests and a phased return to work to ease the transition back. Line manager training on managing maternity is mandatory. Job adverts feature ‘Open to flex’ to make dialogue around flexible working policies easy from the start.  

Comprehensive support 

URW put effort into preparing women for the changes ahead with the tools and confidence they need, including a guide about entitlements and coaching which centres around the journey to becoming a parent and work-life balance. The buddy scheme provides a platform for mothers to share experiences and fosters a culture of friendship and communication. Mothers can also access internal and external family networks for peer support. Furthermore, URW have created a talent development programme for emerging female talent, many of whom are mothers, to enhance their strengths and develop their goals, with an aim to create a Female Network within the business.  

Recognition is given to mothers at every stage of the parenting journey, with awareness days and family days in place over school holidays that signal a family-friendly culture. Newsletters and workshops are specifically designed to help employees optimise physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing and there is access to private healthcare, 24-7 GP assistance, and one-to-one financial planning. 

A measure of success  

Initiatives put in place have proven results, with 100% of mothers being supported to complete a phased return to work, and 100% of mothers’ having their formal flexible working requests approved. Half of those eligible opted to receive Pre-Leave Maternity coaching. Mothers of young children are on the board, and Senior Leadership positions are 70% women. Employees took 2,621 well-being hours in 2023, the equivalent of approximately 349.5 days.