What we're doing to support working and prospective parents
21 July 2022
Goodlord believes the best parenting policies start with creating a working environment where everyone feels supported, regardless of their family status, and then building parental benefits upon that foundation.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the UN General Assembly declaring an annual "Global Day of Parents". Since then, it has been held on 1st June each year to honour parents around the world.
Parenting, often portrayed on social media as an idyllic state of being - beautifully dressed, calm, doting parents, effortlessly juggling work and home, with smiling, cooperative children - is not typically the reality. Well, certainly not in my experience. As the co-parent of three girls and a dog, life is not emotionally or logistically straightforward.
More than a third (37%) of people, and more than half (55%) of 18–34-year-olds, would be more likely to apply for a job if they knew the employer had good parental leave policies.
More than one in 10 people (12%), and one-in-four 18–34-year-olds (25%), decided not to apply for a job because they thought the employer’s parental leave policies were inadequate.
More than half (52%) of people, including two-thirds (64%) of those aged 18-34, agree that parental leave policies are a useful indication of whether an organisation is a good employer - even if they are not planning to have a child themselves.
Around one-in-10 people (9%) have turned down a job offer because they thought the employer’s parental leave policies were inadequate. This increases to one-in-five (21%) 18–34 year-olds.
The study suggests that, as an employer, we need to make sure that we're transparent about the benefits and policies that apply to parents within Goodlord.
In the working-parent phase of my career, I’ve worked for a number of large corporates with big budgets for parenting guru seminars, generous leave entitlements, and neatly written policies - but that really goes to pot when you’re chastised for having to leave early or not being able to make another evening event. Or, you’re sitting in a meeting at 6.30pm, and silently panicking about how you’re going to get everything done that evening when you’re finally home because no one thought about the implications of another late meeting.
It seems clear to me that benefits and policies are really only the tip of the parental support iceberg at work. For Goodlord, our keystone in supporting our parents is to focus on creating a working environment where everyone feels supported, regardless of their family status, and then building our parental benefits upon that foundation.
As a company that has grown nearly five times bigger in the last four years, we’re aware that we’re never finished with creating a parental support package, that it should be something that’s constantly evolving as our company grows and changes. The key things we have in place right now are:
12 weeks' full pay (+ additional weeks dependent on length of service) maternity package
12 weeks' full pay (+ additional weeks dependent on length of service) for all non-birthing parents, regardless of gender or sexual orientation - allowing for shared caring responsibilities in the early days of the baby’s life
Enhanced and equal time off for parents to attend antenatal appointments, regardless of their gender
Infertility support package - including paid consultation and counselling sessions and time off for anyone going through fertility treatment, regardless of gender
Phased "return to work" policy so employees can take a gradual approach during their first month back from parental leave with full pay and training for managers supporting those coming back from parental leave
Employee Assistance Programme that includes counselling and information specifically targeted to working parents.
Unlimited holiday policy
A clear and easy-to-navigate flexible working policy
Of all of these, the most powerful support mechanism is the wrapper that sits around them - our culture.
At Goodlord, we understand the importance of supportive culture where you're not afraid to speak up and say "Today I need flexibility" - and know that it's okay to say that - is so important. One of our values is that we're an open book, so knowing that you can say you're struggling can be a real help. This wrapper transcends parenting; you could also be just be trying to manage yourself and your own circumstances day to day or caring for elderly parents or you're a parent to a four-legged beast (yes, we very much welcome dogs in the office and our #doglovers Slack channel buzzes with proud pictures).
So, the 10-year anniversary of the "Global Day of Parents" is a compelling reminder for me that being a successful working parent in our company should not be an impossible pursuit, but something that, with the right mechanisms and culture, is encouraged and delivers on current expectations - and is continually reviewed as our company grows and changes.
Oh Goodlord Limited is an Appointed Representative of Goodlord Protect Limited for general insurance products and credit broking. Goodlord Protect Limited is directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 836727. You can check this information on the Financial Services Register by visiting www.fca.org.uk/register or by telephoning 0800 111 6768 (Freephone) or 0300 500 8082 from the UK. The FCA is the independent watchdog that regulates financial services.