· 2 min read · Features

National Grid's flexible working initiatives secure its place on the Top Employers for Working Families List

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Flexible working is available to all National Grid employees and based on all requests being supported unless operational justification is provided by the line manager. The policy is supported by user friendly guidelines and case studies to market a greater awareness beyond caring responsibilities. In addition to formal arrangements many informal requests are supported that have no bearing on terms and conditions.

For employees with responsibilities outside the workplace, the organisation's family provisions policy supports continued skill development and career progression. These include extended career breaks, sabbaticals and childcare breaks.

Each employee taking a childcare break (7 weeks) can receive the National Grid childcare allowance (£45 per week per child). Almost 100% of women on maternity take the break during the SMP period and 22 men are in receipt of the allowance. In addition Childcare vouchers are available via the Flexible Benefits scheme, and are taken up by 5.7% of staff. Fathers benefit from two weeks paternity leave with maternity and adoptive parents having up to 52 weeks leave.

And bsent employees are kept up to speed with business developments via the "Keeping you Posted" scheme.

Despite a return rate of 98% for maternity returnees, research into ways of further improving their experience has led to additional initiatives - management  training; processes have been revised and aligned with national best practice and returnees are included in the induction process.

We offer a phased return to work, taking excess holiday build up for the first few months on return and can mean up to an additional 33 days.

And emergency leave scheme is in place at National Grid: staff can take time off to cover for child care, make new arrangements, or for carers to attend medical appointments. The policy is more generous than required by law with a slightly broader definition of dependants - e.g. we include elderly neighbours that rely upon assistance from our employees. 

The organiation is also planning to launch a carer's network as part of our established disability confident network, to provide support to employees who care for someone who has a disability/ illness whether permanent or temporary.

And National Grid is proud of its advisory and support group parents@work run by parents providing a one stop shop for advice and information about managing the work-life balance from a family perspective, including case studies and a buddy network to enable sharing of experiences for mothers, fathers and managers.  Events on work-life balance, parenting & fathers are provided.  Responding to the needs of this growing population, parents@work will re-launch in line with its first anniversary as ‘Families@Work', providing information & support on family-related challenges which affect our working lives.

Career development support and mentoring through various channels is offered including women only, those with or caring for others with a disability, new starters and our ethnic minority employees. And women make up 24.8% of entry grades, and 35.6% of all promotions: both against a back drop of 23.4% female employees.

Catherine Hamilton, inclusion & diversity manager, UK, at National Grid, said: ""Recognition for how National Grid is taking a more pro-active and enlightened approach to balancing the demands of work and families is excellent and is the result of a significant number of our employees bringing their ideas and talents to the fore in challenging the art of the possible and providing support to one another.

"We know how important work life balance is in engaging our workforce and in particular providing relevant and accessible family and carer support."

More information on Top Employers for working families