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Shared parental leave one year on: the employer perspective
Published: 5 Apr 2016
By Xanic Jones, EMEA Diversity and Inclusion, Citi
Today marks the first anniversary since the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) legislation came into force. From the outset of planning for this new piece of legislation Citi was bold and forward thinking about the approach we would take for an internal policy.
Citi benefits from being recognized as a family friendly employer, from the policies that we have, for instance we pay full pay for the first 26 weeks of maternity leave, and the additional support, benefits and networks that we have to support working parents. This reputation was key to uphold when planning for SPL, and consequently it made sense for Citi to support SPL equally to our maternity benefit. This proposal was agreed to and granted by Citi’s senior management without hesitation and had their full backing and support.
When it came round to informing employees of this new benefit we started internal employee communications about this at the end of 2014 and early 2015. We included internal email communications and plasma screen posters around the Citi buildings in London, Belfast and Edinburgh. The initial launch did instigate many enquiries, and a year on we have been bowled over with the number of enquiries actually converting to official SPL requests. We have seen double the number of applications as we had expected in the first year, which just goes to show that Citi has delivered a policy that is supportive of our new parents and a policy which employees are using.
What we have learnt a year on: the greater number of applications for SPL has been from our regional offices in Belfast and Edinburgh. We have received feedback from employees that Citi’s SPL policy really is leading edge compared to the other large employers in these locations, and does indeed differentiate Citi as a family friendly employer. The take up of SPL has all been from Citi’s new dads, both from those who are dads for the first time and those who were unable to take advantage of this policy first time round and they can now for subsequent children. We have also seen that fathers at all levels of seniority have applied for SPL, including our first Managing Director.
While all of these dads have been pioneers in their own right, this has proven to be a great start for Citi’s new parents, and Citi will benefit from our employees’ loyalty, higher productivity levels when they return, and employees who can flourish in their careers at Citi whilst managing their balance between family and work.