Design Fire Consultants has been a going concern now for 8 years. And in the last few months we have had the opportunity, and the need, to formally consider our parental leave offering. The first DFC employee baby was on the way and it was time for us to consider what kind of employer we want to be.
DFC has a number of core priorities from “delivering the highest quality service to our clients throughout the construction industry” to “engaging with academia and industry to remain at the forefront of our discipline”. But the truth is, by far the most important core value to us is to “develop, support and reward our staff and create an enjoyable working environment” because, frankly, this is at the root of everything else we do.
Getting our staff morale right is the first step to getting everything else right.
So, after an employee alerted our directors to an impending arrival, they sat down to consider what, if any, enhanced maternity, paternity and shared parental leave we wanted to offer to our employees, who would benefit from it and why.
After some (much!) deliberation and some serious spreadsheeting, the DFC policy was formed.
- Maternity pay will be enhanced such that the first 13 weeks are at 100% of the employee’s normal salary and the next 26 weeks are at 50% of normal salary. Any remaining leave up to 13 weeks would be at the statutory minimum.
- Paternity pay will be enhanced such that both available weeks are at 100% of the employee’s normal salary.
- Shared parental pay will be enhanced such that, whatever leave is available to be taken as shared parental leave, can be taken at whatever point in the 52 weeks after the child is born and will be paid at 50% of the employee’s normal salary.
- All employee benefits will continue throughout all types of parental leave.
Employees will be eligible for the full package outlined above after 2 years of full service. Any employee that has been employed with DFC for less than 2 years will be eligible for 1 week of enhanced leave, for every 2 weeks of completed employment.
Nick Swailes explains what this means to him as a new parent:
We work in an industry where women are underrepresented and we live in a society where women returning to work after having a baby is not made as easy as it could be; both things we are keen to buck the trend on by hiring more women into our workplace and giving all our employees the requisite flexibility to allow them to manage their life/work balance how they best see fit, especially at a time of great change in their home lives.
DFC was also keen not to limit the benefits entirely to employees who had been here for a long time, because that seems to accidentally diminish the impact and importance new employees can have at a company”.
In the very near future this policy will be formally written to ensure that the finer points and detail maintain the principles regardless of the specifics of the situation, including mirroring the above for adoption, surrogacy and other less heard from but equally important situations.
Nick goes on to add:
I can say all of the above and believe it – because I’m not a director trying to run a business or worrying about attracting negative comments on a blog. I’m not a marketing company trying to get likes on a post. I’m not an external HR company trying to get work. No, in true DFC style, they’ve trusted their employees. So, the author of this post is an employee. And a recent father. About to go and enjoy some paternity leave and then some shared parental leave after that”.
We wish Nick all the best with his new addition!
- Posted by Iain Macfarlane
- On 31st October 2018