Laing O’Rourke launches equal parenting approach for all employees

Laing O’Rourke is to give all employees access to at least six months of parental leave at full pay, regardless of how they become a parent.

The new approach applies to parenthood by birth, surrogacy or adoption and is regardless of the individual’s gender.

The company, which is targeting a 50:50 gender balance by 2033, is also introducing a phased return-to-work policy. This allows an individual to gradually reconnect with the workplace by working 80% of their hours, but receiving 100% of their pay (the equivalent of working four days a week, but being paid for five days), for a period of 13 weeks.

Pregnancy loss policy

Meanwhile, a new pregnancy loss policy provides up to two weeks of paid leave for any employee who has suffered, or whose partner or surrogate has suffered, a loss of pregnancy.

Rae Avatar Barnett, Laing O’Rourke’s head of people in Europe, said: “We believe that families, whatever their structure, should be entitled to spend valuable time with a new child.

“And in the case of pregnancy loss, take the time they need away from work.

“This industry-leading approach to equal parenting will allow us to create better gender balance, and shape an organisation that attracts, supports and retains the most talented people.

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

‘World a very different place’

Laing O’Rourke chief executive Ray O’Rourke said: “When I joined the industry more than 50 years ago, I saw my own role as the traditional family breadwinner.  

“The world is now a very different place, and we value modern and diverse family structures and new opportunities that balance careers and childcare.

“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.

“One thing remains the same as when I became a parent, it’s the most common, most disruptive life event for most of our people – in a good way! So why wouldn’t the business do everything it can to support people fairly during this change.”

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