Employees to be given equal paid leave after birth or loss of pregnancy

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Laing O’Rourke introducing a sweeping reform of its parenthood policies in an effort to make them more equitable.

From October, all employees at the contractor – regardless of gender or parenthood by birth, surrogacy or adoption – will be able to access at least six months parental leave at full pay.


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All employees, regardless of gender or type of parenthood, will get equal paid parental leave

The firm is also introducing a phased return to work policy, allowing returning workers to begin at 80% of their normal hours while remaining on full pay for a period of 13 weeks.

Staff who suffer the loss of a pregnancy – either themselves or a partner or surrogate – will be given up to two weeks paid leave, effective immediately.

Rae Avatar Barnett, head of the people function in Europe at Laing O’Rourke, said the firm believed that “families, whatever their structure, should be entitled to spend valuable time with a new child”.

She added that the policy would allow the firm to “create a better gender balance” and help them attract and retain talent.

“Leave to celebrate, adjust and grow the family unit should become as much the norm for partners as it is for the mother giving birth,” she said.

“With no differentiation given to gender or how people become parents, this also provides more support to adoptive parents and our LGBTQ+ community.”

>>Also read: Laing O’Rourke wins £370m HS2 Interchange station

>> O’Rourke continues revamp of sustainability team

The firm’s chief executive, Ray O’Rourke, said that world had changed a lot since he joined the industry more than five decades ago, when he saw his own role as the “traditional family breadwinner”.

He said: “I’ve always been an advocate for innovation and modern methods of construction, and those approaches should not just be in the technical ways we work – but in the ways we recruit, deploy, reward, and support our people.”

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