Skip to content
Accessibility Sitemap Search

The UK's national charity for working parents and carers

Members log in

Don’t miss out!

Sign up for free resources, exclusive events and the latest updates for employers, line managers and HR professionals.

Case study library

  • Welcome to our employer case study library

    The case studies are free to access. To help keep the library relevant and useful, please provide a few details. By entering your data, you agree that your information will be processed in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Alternatively, if you are a Working Familes member, please log in for immediate access.

    Members Log-in

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
    Do not fill this in

Published: 26 Jun 2024

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield – Winner 2024, Best for Fathers, sponsored by Rolls-Royce

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s (URW) holistic approach centres the fatherhood experience, and an understanding of the positive impact of supporting fathers on their parenting journey forms the foundation of a culture where gender balance is valued, demonstrated by an impressive record on take-up. 

Progressive policies  

The commitment of URW to achieving gender balance is evident in their policy approach. An Equal Parenting Policy means that fathers and partners are entitled to take Shared Parental Leave of 13 weeks full pay and 13 weeks half pay and this is available from the first day on the job and can be taken at any point during the baby’s first year. Paternity and Partner Leave has been enhanced to four weeks full pay. URW recognise the need for occasional unexpected leave, and so offer paid time-off for dependents, which can be taken flexibly in hours. In addition, there are two wellbeing days offered every year to all.  

URW understand the value of a good work-life balance for both wellbeing and productivity.    

Flexible working arrangements are discussed at key points such as notifying HR of an intention to take parental leave and returning from parental leave. All job adverts feature ‘Open to flex’ to make dialogue around flexible working policies easy from the start.  

A supportive culture 

 
There is an appreciation of the role of line managers, who are guided by the People team through relevant policies, processes and support information including pre/during/post leave checklists and return to work plans. Managers also have access to external coaching and specific training that focuses on empathy and managing employee workload. 

Specially designed coaching provides support to fathers and partners which centres around the journey to becoming a parent and work-life balance, to equip fathers and partners with the tools and confidence they need. Peer-to-peer support is available through a buddy scheme which provides an opportunity to share experiences and fosters a culture of openness. During extended leave, fathers and partners keep in contact with their buddy and line manager and are invited to attend a Keeping In Touch breakfast for new parents. A return-to-work plan includes a 1–2-week schedule of catchups with team members and any necessary training to ease the transition back to work. A survey captures feedback from those returning from parental leave to further enhance support in the future.  

A deluxe gift hamper is sent to the father or partner following birth or adoption. An Employee Assistance Programme and range of financial awareness sessions and health benefits for both employee and dependents are available to help promote employee wellbeing, and annual Family Days during school holidays promote a family-friendly culture to help all parents effectively juggle their work-life balance.  

Measure of success 

URW have had tangible success in implementing supportive policies for fathers, evident in 50% of all eligible fathers taking their full 4 weeks paternity leave entitlement and 40% of eligible fathers taking enhanced SPL, compared to the national average of 2%. Of those eligible for the New Fathers and Partners Return Coaching, 90% opted to receive it, giving a rating of ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’. All parents are able to utilise the flexible working policy, and in 2023 employees took the equivalent of approximately 349.5 wellbeing days in addition to parental and annual leave.