Morrisons is introducing what it claims is an industry-leading adoption policy to help staff who are adopting children.

The new policy gives adoptive parents equivalent benefits to those taking maternity and paternity leave.

Although the retailer has only had a small number of staff go through the adoption process so far, Morrisons said it had made the decision to create a level playing field for all staff.

The adoption package will be introduced from 28 November and is part of a raft of initiatives designed to help staff with families. It includes up to five days paid leave to attend essential adoption meetings.

Primary carers will also be entitled to 52 weeks of adoption leave and 100% of their basic contractual pay for the first 12 weeks of leave after adopting a child. There will be further financial support following the return to work. Currently, statutory adoption pay entitles employees to £128.73 per week.

“We recognise the importance of family and want to be able to support colleagues going through life-changing events, said Morrisons group HR director Norman Pickavance. “Through our new adoption policy, we can do exactly this and provide the support mechanisms and flexibility to enable colleagues to adopt children.”

Morrisons said the new family-friendly policies had been developed and in some cases revised to offer staff a better work-life balance and increased flexibility. They will cover maternity, paternity, bereavement and compassionate leave.