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John Lewis first UK retailer to offer equal parental leave

By Alsha Coppolina

10 Jun 2021


John Lewis

Department store, John Lewis will become the first UK retailer to offer equal paid parental leave to its employees.

The company will introduce 26 weeks equal parenthood paid maternity and paternity leave - 14 weeks at full contractual pay and 12 weeks at 50 percent contractual pay. John Lewis will also offer two weeks of paid leave for any partner who experiences the loss of a pregnancy.

These commitments are part of a new package of support for partners (employees), who jointly co-own the business and will run alongside a pilot program that offers career help for young people leaving the care system.

Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership said in a release: “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.”

John Lewis has also launched its flexible first commitment - with all job opportunities advertised with a flexible working option unless there is an operational reason why this is not possible.

“It’s also encouraging to see the John Lewis Partnership making a clear commitment to advertise all vacancies with a flexible working option,” Felicia Willow, chief executive of the Fawcett Society said in a release.

She added, “This proves that despite the Employment Bill being delayed, there is no reason businesses can’t step up and put in place policies that will improve gender equality in the workplace.”