It’s that time of year again. Summer is coming to an end; the kids are back to school and some people are starting a family. For many working families this means organising childcare and for those expecting, it means starting maternity leave and starting their amazing journey as a parent.
At ANS, we make it our priority to ensure all our employees who are lucky enough to be parents are supported whilst they juggle work and parenthood. This is one of the most exciting times in a working family’s life, but it can also be challenging to combine work and a new lifestyle once their child is born. Supporting expecting employees before their baby is born can really help them when they choose to transition back into work and find that all-important work-life balance.
At ANS we believe that supporting working families, before and after their little ones are welcomed into the world, is in fact good for business. Let’s take a look at some of the ways ANS helps and supports new parents.
Babies don’t come cheap. That’s why we contribute over and above the national statutory maternity pay. As part of our length of service recognition, we even give additional maternity pay to those who have been with us for 2 years or more. That includes 12 weeks’ full pay and then SMP, instead of the government required 6 weeks’ pay at 90% and the rest SMP.
But don’t think we have forgotten about new dads too! New dads working at ANS receive 5 extra days’ annual leave at 100% pay followed by statutory pay. We also had 5 extra days’ holiday to their allowance to be taken over the 2 years following the birth.
We know money worries are only the half of it, so we have dedicated members from our People Operations Team that closely monitor employees’ wellbeing, offer support and cover all entitlements whilst they spend those first precious weeks with their new ones. We even send a luxurious new arrival hamper to their home to say congratulations! We ensure our employees on maternity leave still feel updated and included so they don’t miss anything important. Once the employee is ready to come back to work, we have in place a welcome back plan to make the transition as smooth as possible for them.
And the support doesn’t end there. We know that raising a family doesn’t come cheap. That’s why we provide Vouchers 4 Kids, a government initiative, that allows for eligible working parents to receive up to £243 per month in childcare vouchers. Whilst our employees are working hard, they can be reassured their children are being taken care of and they can still save money.
We also encourage our employees to work from home wherever possible so that they can still be there for the school run, morning and afternoon. Those key moments in your child’s life shouldn’t be missed either, sports days, assemblies, parents’ evenings, no one wants to miss the opportunity to burst with pride for their child. Working from home gives our employees the chance to enjoy these moments and still be productive.
Let’s take a look at a couple of ANS maternity cases and how we have put these beliefs into practice..
Claire Marsden, our Project Coordinator Manager, had arguably the shortest and most flexible maternity leave we’ve ever had at ANS! She officially went on leave in the September, gave birth to her gorgeous baby boy in the October and was already back part time in the office in January.
Claire is what you might call a bit of a workaholic, even with a baby in tow. Prior to going on maternity leave, she had developed a role of her own within the Professional Services Team at ANS, she had her own processes and methods, bringing something unique to the team. Because of this, she had become rather reluctant to do a handover since the role had become so special to her, like her little baby, if you will. So, Claire and her team decided that she would still do some monthly reporting 2 days a month, all whilst looking after her new-born.
In October, her son was born and within two weeks Claire was already itching to get back (yes, ANS really is that good a place to work). Claire kept in close touch with her colleagues who knew she was super eager to get back to her job that she loved so much. So, when her boss said she should come back to work 2 days a week she jumped at the chance – there’s only so many baby groups you can go to!
Starting in the January, Claire came back off maternity leave, working 2 days a week; 1 in the office and the other she could work wherever suited her best. The flexibility ANS offered made finding that work-life balance so much easier for Claire as she was still able to get work done, do fun activities with her little boy and enjoy a little ‘Me Time’ too.
As a woman, it’s easy to have apprehensions about taking time away from work to have a child over fears it may hold you back in your career. Just 6 months later Claire was back into full time-work and not only that, she came back to a promotion! Previously she had mainly been handling data in the Professional Services Team but now her role was ‘Project Coordinator Manager’. All her worries dissipated, and she was confident that her all-important career was still on track just the same as it had been before.
Julia Walsh, Quality Auditor at ANS, took a longer maternity leave, 10 months in total. Even before she was due to go on leave, ANS supported Julia through some complications she was having during the pregnancy, her manager showed understanding when she had to take additional time off for scans and check-ups. Julia even had to go on maternity leave a month earlier than planned but again, ANS were completely flexible to her needs.
It was up to Julia how and when she wanted to keep in touch with work. She chose to attend our quarterly All Staff meetings where she could keep updated on what had been happening in the business and any new and exciting things that were to come. Not only that, she got to catch up with all her colleagues too.
ANS are committed to helping new parents adjust to their new life. Being a first-time mum, Julia admits her biggest fear was having to give up work due to childcare costs being too expensive. However, she chose to take full advantage of the Vouchers 4 Kids benefit we offer we have massively helped her cover the costs. And ANS just keep on giving! Upon her return, Julia stepped up to the role of Business Assurance Team Leader meaning another promotion for another working mum.
Looking after a child, whatever age they are, is challenging enough, never mind when you are trying to juggle a career at the same time. Your head can be all over when you want to be in two places at once but leaving your little bundle of joy for the first time is made so much easier when your employer understands your family’s needs and offers the chance to shape your work life around them.
ANS can offer true maternity flexibility that may not be available everywhere else. Our focus is not on how many hours our employee’s put in at the office, but rather their output and what they are bringing to the business. With regular communication and understanding both employees and employers can benefit from flexible maternity and childcare arrangements.
To find out about more employees benefits we offer click here.