Employers of Choice
Welcome to the Employers of Choice page.
Welcome to the Employer of Choice page.
Here you can find employers who have a good work life balance attitude and who have demonstrated their commitment to this.
We will list employers who can show they have a positive and personal attitude to individuals needs, whether that be flexible working, part time working, job shares, childcare provision, home working – things that take them over and above the legal requirements of the UK.
How can you get your company listed here?
If you would like to nominate yourself or your employer for a listing here, click here to dowload a word document for a postal application, or click here to apply online. We look forward to hearing from you so we can build a comprehensive resource for working mothers.
The mother@work Employers of Choice
Employer: first direct
mother@work Awards 2005: Overall winner.
Comments: The mother@work Awards judges said: "first direct showed that they were prepared to go the extra mile and that they had really got to grips with the basics like childcare with their excellent on-site nursery provision. Other benefits like family days out, the free openline help service, employee concierges, accreditation by the Tommy's Pregnancy Scheme, on-site complimentary therapists - no wonder their staff retention is so high."
Employer: Eli Lilly
mother@work Awards 2005: second place overall
Comments: The mother@work Awards judges said: “We chose Eli Lilley as they greatly emphasise the trust between the company and the individual, and their desire to listen to their employees' needs and respond to them. There was also a good range of employees' testimonials which added weight to our decision.”
Employer: Merton College
mother@work Awards 2005: third place, highly commended overall
Comments: The mother@work Awards judges said: "Merton College's approach is relaxed and friendly, giving employees well over the minimum requirement in terms of maternity leave, leave for dependents, term time only working options, onsite nursery to name a few and flexible working is positively encouraged. It is clear that there is a huge culture of trust and respect which is very refreshing."
Employer: Air products
mother@work Awards 2005: Winner, Individual story of support by an employer:
Dave Lonsdale for Air Products nominated by Ann Gresty
Comments: The mother@work Awards judges said: “Dave Lonsdale had clearly shown empathy and is obviously a good manager to embrace the needs of a working mother as he did. This company has received two nominations and it is clear that there is an ethos within the whole organisation of support and encouragement for working mothers and the balancing act required.”
Employer: Coventry Building Society
Comments: Coventry Building Society is another example of an employer going beyond the essentials. It has a childcare scheme aiming to provide support, information, sound advice and assistance. It gives practical help, too, with a weekly allowance available to everyone, both men and women on permanent contracts, who has a child under five.
And there is a database of contact telephone numbers for childcare information services where the employee lives. This gives information about childcare in the local area - details of registered childcare facilities, playgroups, nurseries, after-school care, and school holiday activity schemes. There is also information about what to do in an emergency, for example, if one’s childminder is taken ill.
Comments: IKEA has detailed documents covering Ante-natal care time off, dealing with health and safety risks of the job while pregnant, paid maternity leave length (up to a year) and reasons for extentions, return to work and reductions of contracted hours and mentorship.
IKEA’s Mentorship is basically the management appointment of a colleague to keep the mum-to-be in touch with work developments, newsletters, policy changes and general events of interest. It puts an element of obligation onto those informal newsy phone calls that so often tend to peter out as maternity leave draws on. A nice idea, we thought.
Comments: Nationwide seems to have got hours manipulation to a fine art. Almost 11,500 of their employees are female (73%) and flexible working arrangements (for both sexes) include part-time, flexitime, home working, compressed working week (five days to four, 8am to 6pm), job share, annualised hours, term time (not working in school holidays), and shift working.
It must work because at the end of 2004, 87% of their maternity leavers had returned to work with others extending their leave by way of employment break and unpaid leave. Employees turnover rate is 9.5% compared to the financial services industry average of 17% and 92% of employees that work annualised hours are female.
For working parents, Nationwide offers childcare vouchers and has also negotiated preferential rates with a number of local and national childcare providers.
Comments: Various ways of working flexibly at Vodafone UK include part-time, condensed working week (to reduce the number of nursery days you need) and staggered start and stop times to drop-off/pick-up children from school). There is also a childcare voucher scheme and negotiated discounts at nurseries.
And Vodafone practices what it preaches. Vodafone's HQ at Newbury is a wireless environment - all staff have mobile phones instead of desk phones. This means that customers and fellow colleagues can reach employees no matter where they are located. Conference calls, video conferencing and the ability to access email on the move mean that Vodafone HQ employees can carry out their job functions no matter where they are. Approximately 60 per cent of Vodafone UK HQ staff work flexibly in some way.
Employer: The BBC
Comments: The BBC has nursery facilities available at a number of its sites across the UK offering childcare facilities to staff - that or there are nurseries close to BBC buildings, which offer a number of places specifically for BBC staff. For school age offspring there are two Play Schemes open to BBC staff offering parents childcare facilities over school holidays.
As with other employers, the BBC’s measure are just the highlights of a comprehensive scheme and the corporation has a well thought out way of helping mums with nursery or childcare costs. Staff can exchange part of their salary over a fixed period for ‘virtual vouchers’ which can be used to pay for childcare. This means they save money on NI contributions and, as from last April, on tax. The amount saved depends upon the individual’s salary and whether the member of staff is part of the BBC Pension Scheme.
Employer: Abraxas plc
Comments: Abraxas is an established recruitment company with a very personal approach to looking after female employees. For instance, they agreed home working arrangements for a number of mothers, who decided not to return to full-time employment, but wanted to continue working for the company from home. In each case Abraxas arranged for hardware and IT connections to be set up in the employee’s home, so that they could work from home at times that suited them best. They find that as a recruitment company the best time to contact work-seekers is in the evening, which fits in very well with mothers, who are obviously busy during the day with child care. This is something that they have been doing for over 15 years.
They offer flexible working hours, part-time working from the office, and part-time working from home for staff members with childcare issues, which is not just offered to female employees. Abraxas has given employees full-pay paternity leave as much as ten years ago, certainly long before statutory paternity leave was put in place.
Car rental giant Avis has gold-plated the legal requirements. Employees with over 5 years service who are going on maternity leave are entitled to 12 weeks full pay. For fathers the paternity leave is 6 days full pay if you have over 5 years service and 3 if you have under 5 years service. Fathers are also eligible to take paid time off for antenatal classes for their first child and for all scans. The formal terms are augmented by considerate emergency measures when motherhood demands clash with work.
Boots company's overall employment policies contain many measures that help working mothers among others and measures that are drafted expressly for working mothers' assistance. The company is also known to respond to working mothers' needs both swiftly and with genuine understanding. We have anecdotal records of a mother's sudden let-sown by a child minder being met with emergency parental leave - not affecting attendance levels records - and a briefing of the remaining team to arrange cover in the best possible manner.
Employer: Brookfield Recruitment
A small company with no formal worming mothers' scheme - all help is on a one-to-one basis and tailored according to the individual's needs. This works well and includes flexible hours, part-time working, working from home, allowing mothers to bring their children to the office to get those urgent things done and overall, genuine understanding and a willingness to help. According to the directors, "We get it back in spades as loyalty!"
Employer: Computer Associates
Among other conditions, CA has schemes for women to return to work as new mums using the company's childcare facilities that mums may visit at any time during the day. Our contact praised the Montessori approach used there, which makes the children "want to learn and enjoy not only the traditional school learning i.e. reading and writing but also practical life e.g.: setting the table for meals, cleaning their shoes." The company also has reduced working hours schemes.
DuPont is well known for its involvement in educational aid with colleges but it starts from an earlier age than that - such as organised 'Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work' to give them an early experience of what it's all about. More directly, the Family Leave scheme allows unpaid time away from work without hurting career or benefits coverage and is available to all full-service employees for maternity, paternity, adoption, or placement of a foster child, or to deal with the serious illness of a parent, spouse or child. A commitment to return employees to the same or similar job of comparable pay and status is part of this programme. Other schemes include 'Life Works' counselling, flexible working, and certain help with childcare spending.
Employer: Ford of Britain
Ford enhanced its maternity benefits package in 2003. All eligible employees on maternity leave get 100 per cent of basic pay for the full period of their maternity leave up to 12 months. Pregnant employees are entitled to payment of National Childbirth Trust parent craft classes and antenatal and post-natal NCT information packs. There are workshops on maternity and returning to work. For working parents there are part time and flexible working, job sharing or telecommuting, crèches at major sites and a childcare benefit scheme for working parents to save on childcare costs for children up to the age of 16.
Employer: Hewlett Packard
Hewlett Packard's attitude has allowed mothers to adopt flexible working patterns in many ways. Apart from daily hours flexibility, some choose to work at least one day a week at home and managers report that they invariably achieve, and sometimes exceed, their objectives. Mostly it is based on trust - empowering employees to manage their own time and using periodical team meetings.
Tesco operates a range of flexible working options including a career break from three months to five years, part-time working, job share or split, shift swapping and occasional working from home when possible.