John Lewis and Waitrose become first UK retailers to offer fathers six months of paternity leave | Daily Mail Online

by pregnancy journalist

John Lewis and Waitrose have today become the first UK retailers to offer six months of paid paternity leave to new fathers. 

Parents who work for the John Lewis Partnership will also be entitled to two weeks’ paid leave should they experience the loss of a pregnancy. 

The updated support, announced alongside a lengthy Partnership Plan, will allow mothers and fathers to both access 26 weeks of paid leave per pregnancy.

This is a significant increase on its previous offer of 14 weeks paid maternity leave for those who had been at the Partnership for more than two years, and paid paternity leave of one week after one year’s employment.

Under the new policy, both parents will be entitled to 14 weeks at full pay and 12 weeks at half pay once they have worked at the Partnership for one year.

John Lewis and Waitrose have today become the first UK retailers to offer six months of paid paternity leave to new fathers. Pictured: Stock image

The John Lewis Partnership announced the change alongside a new Partnership Plan, which confirmed a host of benefits for employees of Waitrose and John Lewis.

Among the announcements was a commitment to advertise vacancies with ‘flexible working.’

A ‘blended’ working approach for office-based Partners will begin this month, with employees able to split their time between home and work.

The retailer said the changes were curated using feedback from employees who ‘shared what mattered most to them,’ adding it intends to become ‘the UK’s most inclusive business for our Partners and customers, reflecting and connecting with the diverse communities we serve.’

The updated support, announced alongside a lengthy Partnership Plan, will allow mothers and fathers to both access 26 weeks of paid leave per pregnancy. Pictured: Chairman Sharon White

 Under the new policy, both parents will be entitled to 14 weeks at full pay and 12 weeks at half pay once they have worked at the Partnership for one year. Pictured: Stock image

Bosses also announced plans to create an ‘Inclusion Committee’ to help ‘accelerate and scrutinise the delivery of our plans to be a more inclusive business that welcomes and celebrates diversity.’

Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: ‘As an employee-owned business, equality matters to us. 

‘We want John Lewis and Waitrose to be a place for everyone and for people from all walks of life to feel valued so they can thrive in our business.

‘We want to be there for our Partners to support them in important life moments, whether that’s stepping into the world of work for the first time, or becoming a parent.’

Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: ‘As an employee-owned business, equality matters to us. We want John Lewis and Waitrose to be a place for everyone and for people from all walks of life to feel valued so they can thrive in our business.

Bosses also announced plans to create an ‘Inclusion Committee’ to help ‘accelerate and scrutinise the delivery of our plans to be a more inclusive business that welcomes and celebrates diversity’ 

Eight John Lewis stores were forced to close earlier this year as the British high street continued to be blighted by the impact of the Covid pandemic

‘We want to be there for our Partners to support them in important life moments, whether that’s stepping into the world of work for the first time, or becoming a parent.’ 

Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, added: ‘The recent work of the Women and Equalities Committee has highlighted a number of areas in which employers can really help. 

‘This announcement from the John Lewis Partnership has shown them to be really leading the way in making sure their Partners are supported, with a commitment to flexible working, equal maternity and paternity paid leave and baby loss leave. All initiatives which will make a real difference.

‘The pandemic has been particularly hard for families juggling all sorts of different demands and pressures and I am pleased but not surprised the John Lewis Partnership has risen to the challenge to help both existing and future employees.’

Eight John Lewis stores were forced to close earlier this year as the British high street continued to be blighted by the impact of the Covid pandemic.

A further eight stores had closed earlier in the crisis, with some 1,300 jobs axed. 

John Lewis and Waitrose become first UK retailers to offer fathers six months of paternity leave

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