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What contractual pay is offered to mothers* on maternity leave?Basic rate of (full) pay for up to 26 weeks
What contractual pay and leave is being offered to fathers/other parent who opt to take SPL?Basic rate of (full) pay for up to 26 weeks. Entitled to up to 50 weeks leave (mother must take 2 weeks maternity, and remaining 52 weeks is available as SPL)
Does contractual pay have to be repaid if the employees does not to return?No
Will entitlement to SPL be reduced according to SML already taken?The amount of SPL available will be 52 weeks minus any maternity or paternity leave taken for that child.
Is your contractual Shared Parental Pay reduced by the number of weeks of SMP received by the mother?Not unless the mother also works for Citi and has received maternity pay for that child from Citi.
Can SPL be taken from day one of employment?Yes
Is it tied to the date of the child’s birth?No; it is individually matched and floating
Are there any limitations on how SPL can be taken ie minimum continuous block?No, employees have the right to request any pattern of leave, though discontinuous blocks will be approved at their manager’s discretion.
Do you incentivise certain patterns of leave?No
Do you offer a bonus on return from SPL if minimum period it taken?No

*or primary adopter

How are you communicating and encouraging people to take SPL?

We launched an internal communications campaign to reach all UK employees. In December 2014 we released a ‘heads up’ message that the policy was coming; the policy was published onto our internal employee site just before Christmas, so in plenty of time for our employees to be able to digest it, enquire about their options and make a decision well before the date of the change of legislation.  At the initial time of release, the legislation in Northern Ireland was still under review but we had an agreement in principle around the policy that depended on the NI decision. Our preparation for this meant that we were able to communicate with our NI employees, the day after the NI Government confirmed their legislation, that the policy would mirror that of mainland UK.

Alongside these messages we created a dedicated email mailbox for employees to send enquiries to, and this was manned by a dedicated resource who was able to answer those questions. We keep track of all enquiries into this mailbox for the sake of data analysis. We have included messages about SPL in every one of our maternity briefings since January 2015, and have included messaging in our Parent Project workshops, which include a mandatory workshop for all managers of people taking parent leave. Additionally, we have started a ‘new dads’ blog where we are showcasing the experiences and feelings of our employees who have taken parental leave, in an effort to feature (and normalize) men, as well as women, as working parents.

Throughout the process, our EMEA team has stood as thought leaders on the project, sharing our experiences and our research as emerging practice. As well as sharing with Working Families, Citi has delivered a webinar for My Family Care and various members of our cross-functional team have spoken at events and meetings with other practitioners as Citi and other companies attempted to work out how they would interpret the legislation. In advance of the legislation (and policy) going live on April 5th, Citi has received coverage both from specialist press (Personnel Today, Pay and Benefits Magazine, My Family Care, Working Families, Working Mums and others) and mainstream press (The Financial Times).

Can you describe what wider cultural changes needed to support SPL are being implemented?

We believe that for parents (especially dads) to feel confident to request the extended leave we must continue to improve our culture for taking that leave and it not being perceived as a hindrance to career progression. This is reinforced by messages from the very top of the house in the UK with personalised emails as well as digital screen campaigns featuring our UK CCO. As well as introducing information about SPL to all our one on one maternity briefings we have included a section in our Parent programme (including Managing Parent Leave) workshops. We are also working with new dads at Citi to encourage them to blog on our internal social media platform about their experiences returning to work which has received great feedback and other dads commenting on their own experiences.

What do you expect take up of SPL amongst fathers to be? Have you surveyed your employees about SPL and uptake?  Other surveys have shown that mothers may be unwilling to relinquish maternity leave: have you detected similar?

So far we have received 5 formal SPL applications, spread over London, Belfast and Edinburgh sites. We are continuing to receive enquiries from employees on Shared Parental Leave, through the SPL enquiry mailbox (around 25 mailbox enquiries), as well as directly through HR generalists (emails, calls and direct conversations).

The majority of the enquiries received are asking for basic information from male employees whose partners are expecting new babies. Generally, our employee guide has been provided which clarifies most of the questions employees have.

Feedback and employee reaction to our policy has generally been very positive.

Do you have any insight into how parents might like to take SPL? Which is best for your business in terms of planning?

We except parents to request blocks of continuous leave; this has been reflected in the take up so far and the blocks range from 8 to 26 weeks.