It’s so encouraging to read news of companies making significant improvements to their maternity benefits and policies. It’s time we all realise that having a family package that supports both parents makes sense for many reasons; staff retention, creating loyalty, attracting the best talent, staff morale. The Nursery Research became Employee Owned in November 2020 and as part of the new ownership structure, we threw open the doors to Partners (the name our employees chose for themselves) and encouraged opinion, feedback, and involvement in all areas of the business. Our family policy was one of the areas that drew the most criticism.
A resource group of volunteers was formed with the self-assigned objective of ‘creating a family policy to match the best in the industry’.
The team conducted industry and nationwide benchmarking as well as highlighting pain points in their own personal experiences. Having an enhanced financial package for parents is vital but what became clear was there are many other considerations that a business should put in place to support working parents transitioning into parenthood and back into the workplace.
The proposal that was presented to The Nursery’s Board of Directors (and unanimously signed off ) is a package that supports parents through their entire parenting journey: Interest-free Fertility Loans, fully-paid Parent Preparation Leave before their maternity leave begins, post-pregnant parents will be offered to return to work on a 4-day a week basis whilst still being paid their full time 5 day a week salary for the first 12 weeks of their return to work, paid time off for all their child’s special ‘firsts’; first day at Nursery/Childminders, Primary/Secondary school, School concerts etc.
We want to create a work environment where people can bring their full selves to work, and these changes will help parents do just that.
One of the things the team are most proud of is the support that has been added to assist those who suffer early or late pregnancy, or neonatal loss. This now includes paid time off for early pregnancy loss (before 24th week of pregnancy) and the full maternity package for those suffering late pregnancy (24 weeks onwards), stillbirth or neonatal loss.
The Nursery is a place where Partners are keen to get involved and help shape the culture of their business, and the family policy working group was no exception. The insight that came from current parents, parents to be and those with no plans for a family now or in the future made for a broad and considered approach and solution. Two of our partners were particularly delighted we signed off on the new policy so quickly as it means they can take full advantage of it as they head off on maternity leave later this month.