Laing O’Rourke launches new equal parenting approach

Laing O’Rourke employees who become new parents can now access at least six months of parental leave at full pay, the firm has announced.

The benefit, which takes effect in October, is part of a new equal parenting approach for all staff, irrespective of gender. The policy also extends to those who adopt or have surrogacy births.

Laing O’Rourke will also introduce a new, phased return-to-work policy, which will see employees work 80 per cent of the time, but receive their full salary, for up to 13 weeks.

Employees who suffer a loss of pregnancy will have up to two weeks’ fully-paid leave. This has been introduced immediately.

Chief executive Ray O’Rourke (pictured) said the policy demonstrates how the contractor values “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,” he added.

Laing O’Rourke head of people Rae Avatar Barnett 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.

“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.”

Laing O’Rourke is one of the contractors that have signed up to Construction News’  Inspiring Women pledge.

In signing the pledge, organisations agree to support the initiative and aspire to change in areas such as:

  • Attracting, developing and promoting more women in the company and industry, and to do this in a fair way;
  • Closing the gender pay gap;
  • Championing and recognising the achievements of women; and
  • Working collaboratively to create an environment that welcomes and helps to retain women.
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