The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has announced that it will provide six months of equal parenthood paid leave, becoming the first UK retailer to do so.
In addition, two weeks’ paid leave will be given for any of the group’s staff members that experience the loss of a pregnancy.
The moves come as part of a wider partnership plan at the group, which also includes measures to support young people leaving the care system and introduces increased working flexibility.
Sharon White, chairman at the JLP, 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.”
To support those leaving the care system, the JLP has commenced a pilot programme with Essex County Council to identify job vacancies and provide mentoring and interview schemes.
Further additions to the partnership plan include supporting ethnic minorities through a range of schemes, as well as establishing an inclusion committee that will scrutinise the delivery of the group’s plans.
As for the group’s “flexible first” commitment, this will entail all job vacancies advertised with a flexible working option, unless there is an operational reason as to why that is not possible.