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Published: 26 Jun 2024

British Heart Foundation – Finalist 2024, Best for Fathers, sponsored by Rolls-Royce

The British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) pursuit of equality has driven them to introduce policies that advances parity in parenting and recognises the need for support at different stages of parenthood.   

Progressive Policies 

The introduction of our enhanced Paternity and Partners Leave policy allows for fathers and partners to take up to 12 weeks of enhanced paid time off, matching our provision for Maternity Leave. Alongside this, we have also enhanced our Shared Parental Leave provision, which now also matches Maternity and paternity/Partner Leave and accounts for the shared responsibility and equal role that parents have.   

The BHF additionally understands the need to manage unexpected times of uncertainty in an employee’s personal life, such as dealing with bereavement, specialised appointments, caring for others and other life events. We have therefore introduced a new holistic offering under our Support Leave Policy, to provide support and paid time off in these circumstances.  Support Leave provides 10 days of paid time off, plus an additional 5 days in times of extreme distress or uncertainty. This is on top of our generous annual leave and sickness provisions. 

A Culture of Support 

The BHF recognises the importance of manager training and as such offers comprehensive training and support for line managers on managing their team, before, during and following family. Training is also available to employees and aims to help parents return to work following family leave and adjusting to ‘the juggle’. Additionally, coaching is available for colleagues, for self-development and wellbeing, with sessions on balancing the working and school day effectively and managing family mental wellbeing.  

Sharing real-life stories within the organisation helps raise awareness of the support available to fathers and partners. The Parent and Carer Affinity Group provides dedicated support groups for fathers and partners on every step of the parenthood journey. The group is co-chaired by a father who actively encourages involvement in the group. Recently, he featured in the company podcast, and the senior lead sponsor is a father who bangs the drum for the support available and engages with fathers across the organisation. 

Continuous development 

The organisation’s commitment to continuously improving benefits and support for fathers and partners reflects its dedication to fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment. While specific uptake metrics for the new policies are not yet available, feedback and high ratings in engagement surveys indicate the positive impact of the new enhanced policies. Future plans include a buddying system for peer-to-peer support, and events to create a larger network of support.