The Power of Recognition – Updating Parental Leave
As part of National Inclusion Week 2022, Tony Pleasants, Director, reflects on the positive changes we have made to support our team members during major life events. Specifically, Tony looks at the revisions we have made to our maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave policies.
At Bowman Riley, we have a strong family culture and team working ethos, where we genuinely care about our people and are still a size where I still know everyone’s names.
We haven’t always got it right in the past when it has come to parental leave. For this reason, we set up a working party where I worked with my colleagues Samantha Jevons and Karen Allison, who brought their lived experiences as parents of a young child and grown-up son, respectively. We started looking at how we might be able to offer additional support to our team at a time when they need it the most, welcoming a new life into their family.
Like many SMEs, we followed the statutory parental leave route for maternity, paternity and adoption leave. This is not something I had personally thought much about until I became a parent two years ago and friends, family and colleagues started sharing their experiences of parental leave.
Becoming a parent is a time in life when you need all the practical, emotional and financial support you can get from family, friends and your employer. I remember being so grateful for the check-in calls from colleagues, a homemade lasagne brought over by a neighbour and offers of babysitting by family and friends.
For emotional and practical support, we have introduced a buddy system for new parents to help them stay in touch during parental leave and help with a smooth transition back into work. We also now have trained mental health first aiders in each office to help all our people.
In terms of financial support, we have increased the value and duration of payments we make to people on maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental leave.
Since we implemented the changes earlier this year, our first team member has benefited from our changes taking paternity enhanced leave, as I write. I look forward to speaking with him on his return to work to find out his experiences.
Several companies in our industry shared their policies and procedures, which helped us take our positive steps forward. We are happy to give back and will share our findings if it helps your organisation. Please do get in touch.