25th June 2021

John Lewis to equalise maternity and paternity leave

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John Lewis Partnership has long been hailed as a beacon of good practice when it comes to employee-friendly policies, an accolade it looks set to maintain following its recent announcement that it will become the first UK retailer to launch six months’ equal parenthood paid leave for its employees, or “partners” as they are known at John Lewis.

From this autumn, all partners, regardless of how they have become a parent, will receive 26 weeks paid leave (14 weeks at full contractual pay and 12 weeks at 50% contractual pay) once they have worked for the Partnership for one year.  

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.”

John Lewis Partnership, which employs 80,000 people across its John Lewis and Waitrose brands, announced the new policies as part of plans to redefine its responsibilities towards equality, which was a founding principle of the company when it was formed almost 100 years ago.

The common expectation, that childcare falls to mothers, helps the gender pay gap and many other workplace inequalities to thrive. So this announcement is undoubtedly good news and a huge step forward in supporting working mothers and fathers to look after their children. But the big question is, will more businesses follow suit and enable both parents to take parental leave?

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