Natwest Group: creating a culture that empowers men to care
Since becoming a Business in the Community (BITC) member Natwest Group has worked even harder to make progress in being a responsible business. Natwest Group recently made headlines for significant changes to its parental leave policies that promote gender equality.
Earlier this year, BITC and Ipsos UK launched the Who Cares? report which explores the results of one of the largest surveys of contemporary experiences of combining paid work and care. The results reveal the working policies and practices that are out of touch with the needs of modern employees.
Gender inequality in childcare
Some standout findings from the report include more men (22%) than women (15%) did not feel supported by their employers to manage their caring responsibilities. Moreover, 57% of the men surveyed think that men are less likely to be supported by their employers with their childcare responsibilities.
This problem arises from the stigma around men and childcare. 85% of women are the sole carers for children and caring by fathers is considered an exception rather than the norm. Many businesses’ parental policies reflect the outdated view that women are the primary carers for children while men are not. As a result, women are typically still the only gender able to receive a significant amount of paid time off after becoming parents.
Yet employees are demonstrating their desire for a change in this space. A recent survey by the Fatherhood Institute and Koru Kids found that 46% of UK parents are dissatisfied with their employer’s paternity leave packages. The most cited reasons were that they were not given enough paid time off (73%), were not given sufficient pay (59%), and experienced a lack of flexibility on returning to work (28%).
Addressing the stigmas and creating inclusive policies
Natwest Group has addressed this concern directly by changing its parental care policies to help create a culture that empowers men to care. The British banking and insurance company now allows all new parents, regardless of gender, to take a full year off, of which half will be paid.
Previously Natwest Group offered new fathers just two weeks of paid paternity leave, making this recent change one that demonstrates a huge step forward in gender equality and tackling the stigma around male childcare.
Gender equality has been a priority area for Natwest Group, which made the Times Top 50 Employers for Women in 2022, the UK’s most highly profiled and well-established listing of employers leading the way on workplace gender equality.
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