With home working now being law in some parts of the UK, many companies have had to adapt their policies for employees. As schools and many nurseries also closed, thousands of parents up and down the country are now having to juggle work with childcare and home-schooling. As with most things, some companies have been better than others with some already offering the flexibility required for working parents. Work-life balance charity, Working Families, recently announced their top family-friendly employers in the UK.
Here, we look at some of the best examples of flexible working policies in companies across the UK.
Insurance film Zurich, who have head offices in Birmingham, recently reported a leap in female applicants for senior roles thanks to their latest push in advertising every role with flexible terms. All jobs have recently been advertised with part-time, job share, or flexible working options and the company have seen more than double the number of male and female applicants for roles by adding six words to the adverts.
With the recent lockdowns and school closures, the company gave all staff two weeks emergency leave to sort out any issues such as childcare, so they are definitely one of the good ones.
American Express UK
Financial service corporation, American Express UK, has recently expanded their range of choices for how employees work. All workers can ask for a flexible working pattern with almost a quarter of the staff taking advantage of this benefit across the globe. In the UK, 30% of workers have a flexible working pattern which includes part-time, home-working, compressed hours and job shares.
Crown Prosecution Service
Crown Prosecution Service - the principal public agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales – is renowned for its family friendly working options for staff. They have been running their Smarter Working policy for the past few years which enables staff to work from home, any of their offices or a police station. An online portal provides staff access to all policies, principles and guidance they need. The company also offers Shared Parental Leave and almost all jobs are advertised as open to flexibility.
Global legal business, DWF, has a policy of making flexible working the rule rather than the exception. They are passionate about allowing colleagues to combine their family responsibilities with their career and supported the business to adapt easily during the pandemic. Attracting and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce has always been a priority as well as progressing a family-friendly culture.
Global information services company, Experian, has always offered a good work/life balance for colleagues. Their flexible arrangements have been well received by staff members. Experian’s ethos is the idea that people ae their biggest asset and they believe in the well-being of their employees. The company began the journey to become a more family-friendly employer and became a member of the Working Families in 2017 as well as starting an internal Working Families Network and enhanced their family-friendly policies. The concept was originally just for new parents returning from maternity or adoption leave but changed in 2018 to include all parents of children of all ages, adult and elderly dependents and encouraged them to apply for flexible working.
As well as flex working, Experian also offers a range of benefits and policies to support working parents. They recently doubled their parents and carers leave from five to 10 days. They also provide an employee assistance programme, that not only has a counselling service, but also includes online resources for parents and carers – information that is often shared on their internal network.
Imperial College London
Imperial College London is committed to providing a supportive environment for staff and believes that flexible working can be beneficial to both employees and employers. The College recognises that the ability to consider flexible working options can be attractive to potential new staff and is important to recruit the best and diverse workforce. By following a framework to ensure equality of opportunity, the College has made the policy clear and not subject to any unfair discriminatory practices by line managers.
Independent Living Fund Scotland
ILF Scotland allows any employee to work flexibly, no matter what their individual circumstances, to ensure a healthy work-life balance. Staff are also given the option of working from home whenever they need to.
The organisation has also established several family-friendly working policies, which includes time off for dependents, flexible working, flexitime and 26 weeks full pay for staff taking Shared Parental Leave or Maternity Leave. In addition, ILF Scotland has also introduced a policy for four weeks full pay for those taking Paternity Leave, as well as an attractive adoption policy, which was implemented within the first year of operation.
Intellectual Property Office
As the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property, this workplace offers a flexible working scheme which has no core hours and excellent opportunities for home, part-time and term-time working. Family friendly policies include maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay, followed by 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, and paternity leave of 3 weeks full pay.
Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds believe that agile working is important and so colleagues are offered a lot of support to ensure they have a healthy work/life balance. Flexible options include the option to work part-time in many roles, have a job share with another colleague, work compressed hours or work from home.
International law firm, Pinsent Masons have a commitment to providing modern working environments and practices that are conducive to working parents and carers. They focus on agile and flexible working patterns and shared parental leave and feel this creates a foundation that supports parents and carers working at Pinsent Masons. The firm also recently launched a working support group for fathers in the business. Furthermore, the firm's gender diversity initiative, Project Sky, remains a core focus as the business strives to create a better gender balance across the firm's partnership and senior leadership team.
The Welsh Parliament was named as a winner in the Working Families list. The HR team commented that the parliament ‘strive to provide support that allows employees to maintain a positive work-life balance for the benefit of their health, relationships and their contentment at work.’