There are clear business benefits from providing a family-friendly workplace – improved employee morale, increased satisfaction levels, reduced absenteeism, increased efficiency, higher staff retention and opportunities to access wider talent pools.
Last year, Ford won a ‘top employer’ award. This year, it won the ‘Best for Maternity’ category and was also rated among the country’s top 30 employers for working families.
The key aspects of Ford's maternity policy are:
- 52 weeks’ maternity leave for all employees, regardless of length of service
- 100% maternity pay for the entire 52-week period (for employees that have 26 weeks service after the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth)
- All benefits continue throughout the period of maternity leave, including employee car discount scheme entitlements, pension accruals and employee development and assistance programme provisions
- Reimbursement of NCT class fees and NCT information packs for pregnant employees
- Maternity workshop for all pregnant employees – providing information on statutory entitlements, company policy and provision, health and safety considerations, flexible working policy, sources of advice and support, the return to work process and the salary sacrifice childcare voucher scheme
- Pregnant employees are assigned a specific HR associate for the duration of their pregnancy and period of maternity leave to advise on company policy and assist with queries
- Employees going on maternity leave can elect to be assigned a buddy during or after their period of maternity leave
- Employees on maternity leave are encouraged to maintain contact with their department, for example, by being invited to team social events and by being sent company information and announcements. They are also sent a monthly copy of the internal magazine '@ford' and/or internal job advertisements
- On-site childcare is available on a full, part-time and emergency basis at a nursery run by an external provider but with the building, infrastructure and services costs funded by Ford. This is a key means to encourage the retention of female employees following the birth of a child
- For mothers who return to work and are breastfeeding, Ford provides the availability of a private room to express milk and refrigeration facilities to store expressed milk
Additionally, the Ford Parents Network was re-launched in 2009. This employee resource group plays a vital role in helping to raise awareness about the difficulties faced by working parents, provides information to employees with parental/caring responsibilities as well as acting as a support network to foster better work-life balance, improve productivity and reduce work-related stress within this group.
The company believes these measures have had a positive impact on employees who are pregnant or have had children.
Over 98% of maternity leavers return to the organisation. Additionally, in comparison with the total population, satisfaction levels among parents of pre-school age children are consistently higher than among the total employee population.