We’ve been open about our desire to create an inclusive community where employee experience is personalised and people feel valued and they belong. As part of this, we’ve recently reviewed our parental policies to try and ensure we drive a better employee experience.

What have we done?

Gender and birth-parent bias

Government provisions mean that there’s still some elements of gender and birth parent bias in what we can currently offer. However, we’ve made some changes to try and minimise this within our own policies:

  • Ante-natal and parent-craft appointments – historically, there were limits placed on what time off could be taken for appointments by adoptive parents and partners. Now, aligned with our flexible working approach, we’ve removed these limits so any expectant parent can take the time away from work they need to prepare for the arrival of their child.
  • Adoption appointments – similarly, for adoptive parents, we’ve removed the limits around how many appointments may be taken as part of the adoption process, with the intention to better support people’s needs.
  • Return to work support – we’ve acknowledged that anyone returning to work, following a period of leave, might feel daunted. That’s why we’ve highlighted some options for additional support to help them regain their confidence and navigate the challenges of balancing work and family life. For example, recently we’ve been working with ‘Mumbelievable’ to give some of our people coming back from maternity ‘return to work coaching’ and this may be a consideration for other parents too.
  • Foster to adopt – sometimes, as part of the process, adoptive parents first foster the child they’re planning to adopt. We’ve adjusted the policy so that in these cases, adoption leave can start when fostering begins, so they can support their child straight away, rather than having to wait for the completion of the adoption process.
  • Tone of voice – whenever possible, we’ve removed gender specific references where they’re not needed. We’ve also changed the tone to be clearer about the fact that we don’t just tolerate parenting needs; they’re welcomed and supported in our organisation.
Roles and responsibilities

In all of our parenting policies, we’ve clarified the roles and responsibilities of employees and their line managers so that each can easily reference and understand what we expect of them.

Coming soon

We’re working with return-to-work coaching partner, Mumbelievable, to produce some employee guides that help unravel the complexity of becoming a parent while working. This goes all the way from finding out you’re expecting to becoming a parent and telling your manager, right through to returning to work following the arrival of your child. The guide is intended to take you through the experience and the decisions you need to make step-by-step. This guide will be available in late July.

All the policies can be found on The Bridge > Ask HR > Shore HR > Shore Employee Guides

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