Winners of the Top Employers for Working Families awards 2013 were announced last week.
In recognition of companies who really do go the extra mile for working families, we profile five of the best in this series. Today we look at the London School of Economics (LSE).
Sector: Higher education
Number of employees: 3,180
Nominated for: Best for Motherhood, Best for Carers and Eldercare, and Best for Fatherhood.
The LSE has a well-established and sector-leading approach to supporting mothers and fathers and employees with caring responsibilities.
Best for motherhood award
The LSE has a range of policies and options to support mothers who leave work to have children.
Maternity leave is paid in full for 18 weeks, and they also have a pre-maternity period where one-to-one advice is given.
All expectant (or pre-adoptive) mothers are offered a mentor if they want one. In addition to providing employees with guidance on their rights and options around flexible working practices, all mothers are encouraged to attend LSE's Balancing Work and Being a Mum course. Places are also offered to the partners of the mothers-to-be, irrespective of whether they work for LSE or not.
On return from maternity leave, mothers are well supported. Phased return is offered as a matter of course, and mentors offer support and advice on transitioning to becoming a working parent. At this stage the organisation also initiates a conversation with mothers about how combining work and career will affect things like career development and work output.
LSE provides mothers with access to an on-site nursery, and there is a space set aside where mothers can rest and breastfeed.
LSE gives managers practical training and one-to-one discussions about managing flexible workers, and how flexibility can improve work engagement and benefit the organisation.
Best for fatherhood award
The LSE has shown that combing fatherhood and having a successful career are not exclusive of each other, and have worked to break down cultural assumptions within the organisation about fathers at work.
The LSE's commitment to fathers starts early, providing paid time off to accompany their partner to antenatal appointments. All fathers receive two weeks' fully paid paternity leave and can pay for additional parental leave.
LSE has worked to ensure that fathers are well supported through their managers, by using webinars, a toolkit and one-to-one discussions on how flexible working can work and be good for work engagement and business.
Carers and eldercare
LSE have put into place measures aimed at carers in recognising that caring responsibilities have a impact on the family, some of these are available to the partners of LSE employees too.
Carers are directly supported through policy provision, for example leave taken for caring is taken into account and is used when reviewing work output and career development.
At the awards ceremony last week LSE were joint winners of the Best for Motherhood and Best for Carers and Eldercare Award.
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