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UAL launches sector-leading equal parental leave policy

  • Written byKatie Moss
  • Published date 06 October 2022
Mathilde Wittock, 2021 BA Product and Industrial Design, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • UAL launched sector-leading equal parental leave policy on 01 October
  • Salaried employees and hourly paid lecturers are now entitled to 26 weeks of full maternity and paternity pay
  • The new entitlements apply to all new parents of any gender
  • The continuous service requirement has also been reduced from 12 months to 26 weeks

University of the Arts London (UAL) has officially launched a new sector-leading parental pay and leave provision – which offers an equal package to staff irrespective of gender, sexual orientation or how people become parents.

The new policy was guided by feedback and consultations with staff and trade unions. From 1 October 2022, all salaried employees and hourly paid lecturers at UAL are entitled to 26 weeks of full maternity or paternity pay.

There is an abundance of evidence outlining how equal parental leave benefits parents, children, andthe economy.Research from the International Labour Office outlines that generous and non-gender specific paternal leave and pay is one of the most important indirect ways of closing the gender pay gap1.

Social purpose is at the heart of UAL’s strategy – which was developed by and with staff. These new commitments are a significant step towards a truly equal and inclusive workplace and an environment which champions flexibility, support, and improved work-life balance for parents.

The introduction of UAL’s equal parental leave and pay policy follows the University’s official accreditation as an official Living Wage Employer in 2021.

Our new equal parental leave policy has been designed to support 21st century families – it signifies UAL’s commitment to challenge gender inequality and outdated cultural perceptions about traditional family roles. The provision of fair parental policies is also fundamental for attracting and retaining skilled and experienced talent within our workforce - particularly as we face historically high turnover rates within the UK higher education sector.

— Naina Patel, Chief People Officer at UAL
At the heart of UAL’s social purpose strategy is a commitment to pioneer changes that can help solve society’s problems.   We hope this move will inspire other organisations to introduce equal parental leave and contribute to a country in which gender no longer determines your earning potential.

— Polly Mackenzie, Chief Social Purpose Officer at UAL

1. Closing the gender pay gap: a review of the issues, policy mechanisms and international evidence / Jill Rubery, Aristea Koukiadaki; International Labour Office – Geneva: ILO, 2016.