Santander has today announced that it will extend its Shared Parental Leave scheme to include grandparents to provide employees with a new or growing family greater flexibility over their work life balance.

The innovative scheme, which will allow new parents to share their parental leave with their parents as well as their partners, is now available to all 20,000 employees at the bank’s 850 branches and 68 regional Corporate Business Centres.

In October last year the Government announced plans to consult on a major new extension of shared parental leave to incorporate grandparents, with the aim of implementing the policy by 2018. Independently of this, Santander has been exploring ways to expand its own family policies ahead of the government plans and other companies introducing this new policy.

Extending shared parental leave to grandparents reflects the fact that many parents call on the support of their wider family to help with childcare, but this has to be balanced with the work commitments of those family members.

With people living longer than in previous generations and having longer careers, we are seeing multi-generational working of families within Santander. This scheme – which we believe is the first of its kind – will enable employees to exercise a greater degree of choice and control over their parental leave and childcare arrangements.

Alongside this greater flexibility, Santander is also introducing an enhancement to its maternity pay that will entitle employees to 16 weeks of full pay – a provision which will also be matched for Grandparents and partners who take Shared Parental Leave.

Case study: Essex-based family to share extended parental leave
Leanne Pegley and her mother Teresa, who both work at Santander branches in Essex, are set to become the first beneficiaries of this new scheme. Leanne, who is expecting a child in early April, plans to share the new extended Shared Parental Leave with her mother.

Leanne said: "The new scheme is a massive boost in helping us plan for our new baby. I believe that all family members have a big role to play in bringing up children but obviously everybody has their own commitments as well. With the shared parental leave we can all balance our work and family life and have the best of both worlds."

Vicky Wallis, HR Director at Santander UK, said: "To enable new mothers to share their maternity leave with a grandparent ahead of new legislation is a real landmark. It is the result of positive discussions and commitment from across the organisation and our trade unions Advance and CWU. We are particularly looking forward to maintaining contact with Leanne and Teresa, together with other Santander colleagues who choose to take advantage of this policy, and ensuring their transition back into work is as smooth as possible."

Linda Rolph, General Secretary of Advance, commented: "This is a really progressive move from Santander and we are delighted that we’ve been able to support the development of the new scheme. It is vital that today’s employers do all they can to enable their workforce to balance their commitments in and out of the workplace and it is very positive to see Santander leading the way in this area."

Santander also proactively offered all employees the option to request a flexible working pattern ahead of legislation making this mandatory, and was also early to introduce a Shared Parental Leave scheme. The policy was made available to partners of maternity leavers, same-sex couples and new adopters, and a number of the bank’s employees have benefitted from scheme since its implementation in April 2015.

- Ends -

Note to Editors

About Santander

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its 1|2|3 products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. As at 31 December 2015, Santander UK was one of the most switched to banks. The bank serves more than 14 million active customers with c. 20,000 employees and operates through 857 branches and 70 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

About Us
Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N, BNC.LN) 
is a leading retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization and among the top banks on a global basis. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.51 trillion in managed funds, 13,000 branches and 194,000 employees at the close of 2015. In 2015, Santander made attributable profit of EUR 5,966 million, a 3% increase with respect to the previous year.

Media Contact
Sarah Webster at Santander      Tel: 020 7756 5533      Mob: 07568112529

The press office operates from 8.00am to 6.00pm. Outside of these hours please call 0800 5877708.