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Hassell champions parental leave policy 

Hassell champions parental leave policy 


The global design practice’s newly appointed managing director Liz Westgarth has launched an industry-first parental leave policy.

Continuing to demonstrate her commitment towards contributing to gender equity in architecture and design, Westgarth is intending for Hassell’s new progressive parental leave policy to enable parents to ascertain a work life balance.

The policy came into effect on 1 July of this year and reflected a core focus on developing a workplace culture where all employees not only feel as if their wellbeing is considered and prioritised, yet also that they are equipped to meaningfully balance career and family. 

The parental leave policy is one of Westgarth’s first initiatives as Hassell’s first female managing director and she’s incredibly excited about the change it will make to an inclusive culture. 

“Our parental leave policy is about fostering an environment where everyone feels like they can thrive by encouraging a balance in career and family,” says Westgarth.

Hassell sets a design industry precedent

The new inclusive policy guarantees an equitable 16-week paid leave to all parents regardless of their role as primary and secondary carers. 

Additionally, parents who have adopted children, alongside those in foster or surrogacy arrangements or those who have experienced the loss of a child through stillbirth, all qualify to receive the benefits of this policy. 

Westgarth says she hopes that normalising paid parental leave regardless of gender or the uniqueness of a child-raising situation will set a precedent within the built environment community. 

“It isn’t just about us – it’s about setting an inclusive and responsive design industry benchmark that mirrors our commitment to breaking down barriers and making impactful change,” says Westgarth. 

A ripple effect

This exciting leap forward marks the practice’s ongoing implementation of flexible policies that showcase its advocacy for inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

Westgarth reiterates how Hassell is productively aspiring towards gender equality through its appointment of women into coveted and essential leadership positions. 

“My hope is that this new policy will help encourage more inclusive leadership and equity within the wider community,” she finishes. 

Photography supplied by Hassell. 

Read about Liz Westgarth’s history-making appointment at Hassell. 

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