Personnel Today’s judges were particularly impressed at how housing association RHP’s family-friendly initiatives stemmed from employee feedback and consultation. They also liked the ‘style and panache’ in RHP’s approach, but as we look at all the shortlisted entries for this category, it’s clear that RHP’s wasn’t the only excellent submission.
For south west London-based housing association RHP Group, it is important that employees love what they do, whether they are at work or in their home lives. Part of this is the provision of a generous suite of family-friendly policies, ranging from loans for fertility treatment to two-days’ paid leave when employees become a grandparent.
For parents, it offers enhanced maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave packages. Parents can flex their hours around commitments including the school run and Christmas concerts, and it is trialling Pebble, an online platform that allows parents to book discounted activities for their children.
For those who wish to become parents, it offers paid time off for IVF, surrogacy or adoption meetings, and an interest free loan to help with the cost of fertility treatment.
Employees face no restrictions on time off for compassionate purposes including death and illness. For those who are carers, five days’ paid carer’s leave is offered on top of employees’ usual annual leave entitlements.
Employees tell the company that they really value the support it offers them and their families. Ninety-two per cent are satisfied working for RHP Group, 87% believe it cares for their health and wellbeing, and 85% would recommend it as a place to work.
In the past two years it has promoted two people while they were on maternity leave or about to take time off to have a baby. Almost three-quarters of promotions in the past year have been given to women.
The investment management industry has traditionally been male-dominated, due in part to a perceived lack of family-friendly working, according to LGPS Central. The Wolverhampton-based asset management firm is seeking to change this image via the introduction of more generous family policies that go above and beyond statutory provisions.
Paternity leave has been improved from two weeks’ statutory leave to three months’ leave at full pay, while maternity leave is now offered at 26 weeks’ full pay and 26 weeks’ half pay. Core 9-5 working hours have been removed to offer parents greater flexibility, and employees no longer have to be employed for 26 weeks before making a flexible working request.
Since the paternity leave review, 4% of its workforce has taken up three months’ leave at full pay. Users say it has allowed them to switch off from work in the first few months of their child’s life, providing them with invaluable family time.
The introduction of hybrid working has seen more mothers decide to return to the organisation after maternity leave.
RPO provider Resource Solutions is committed to putting family first, acknowledging the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns have had on families.
It has a range of policies to support the needs of all families, from giving employees a day-one right to home working and operating a hybrid working policy that gives staff autonomy over their working day, through to enhanced maternity and adoption pay and phased returns to work with no impact on pay.
It is in the process of launching a new fertility policy, giving staff up to five days’ paid fertility leave per IVF cycle, up to a maximum of three cycles per year. It says this will help people to recover from IVF treatment and to attend appointments when needed. Employees supporting a partner undergoing treatment will also be entitled to up to two days leave per IVF cycle.
In 2021 it launched Rejoin, a programme to connect returners with organisations that are hiring. Not only is the programme available for Resource Solutions’ clients, but it is also participating in the programme itself.
The company has an all-female executive operations team and 67% of its promotions last year were female.
Reward Gateway has one simple rule employees can follow: “Never miss and important life or work event”.
In 2021 it took this a step further by introducing RG Work Modes – an activity-based model that supports flexible, hybrid work. Each Work Mode helps employees decide whether they should work from home or in the office, helping to support family life. Home working is encouraged when people want a quiet, private space to concentrate or make decisions, while office working is recommended for team collaboration, socialising, learning and to shadow or mentor.
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Other family-friendly benefits include a baby bonus, which is paid up to two months before a new baby is due or adopted; a support bundle for carers including personal wellbeing coaching, an EAP and a hub with carer support information; three months’ paid family leave when any dependent has a long-term illness; miscarriage and baby loss support; and enhanced parental leave.
Saga Group, which provides insurance, holidays and other products for people aged 50 and over, has a diverse team of whom 53% are female and 20% are over 50 years old.
Its vision to be an inclusive and family-friendly organisation is supported by its enhanced maternity policy at 12 weeks’ full pay and 14 weeks’ half pay; enhanced paternity leave at four weeks’ full pay; a pregnancy loss policy; one week of paid leave following the birth of a grandchild; and extended paid leave for when a baby is born prematurely.
Employees are eligible for all of its family-friendly entitlements from day one of employment. There is also a subsidised onsite nursery, which is available to grandchildren, and Saga regularly holds family events, including a Christmas event for children and grandchildren.
Two employees have taken up grandparent leave and many more plan to do so. Flexible working and reduced hours are adopted by 20% of staff.
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