To celebrate local employers who show commitment in prioritising Family Friendly policies, local charity Employers For Childcare Charitable Group held the fifth annual Family Friendly Employer Awards on Thursday 8 October at Belfast City Hall, with Worthingtons Solicitors sponsoring the awards lunch and Maxine Orr, Partner and Head of the Employment Department, of Worthingtons Solicitors acting as one of the Judges.
Family Friendly Employers Striking the Balance!
Over recent months the concept of ‘Family Friendly’ has become increasingly popular with the introduction of a number of family friendly initiatives in Northern Ireland, such as the introduction of shared parental leave, and a number of major international employers, such as Netflix and Virgin, hailing the importance of facilitating working parents.
To celebrate local employers who show commitment in prioritising Family Friendly policies, local charity Employers For Childcare Charitable Group held the fifth annual Family Friendly Employer Awards on Thursday 8 October at Belfast City Hall, with Worthingtons Solicitors sponsoring the awards lunch.
At the ceremony Employers For Childcare also launched the new ‘Striking the Balance’ report which outlines the challenges that working parents in Northern Ireland face today, and explores the real impact that becoming a parent has on a person’s employment, working life and career prospects. Shockingly, 91% of the 4,200 survey respondents stated that it is difficult to combine work with family responsibilities, pointing to a clear need for employers, government and other organisations to do more to help working parents create a suitable work-life balance.
The awards celebrated employers who have acknowledged the true value of being family friendly. This annual award ceremony recognises organisations as some of the best family friendly employers in Northern Ireland. From flexible working policies to employee benefits like Childcare Vouchers, these organisations are committed to initiatives that make it easier for parents to balance their work and family life.
The judging panel for the Family Friendly Employer Awards 2015 were Julie Taylor, Managing Director, Integrity NI and Board Member of Employers For Childcare Charitable Group; Gavin Walker, Managing Editor, Business First; Maxine Orr, Partner, Worthingtons Solicitors; John Simpson, Economist and Sarah Uprichard, CIPD Policy Committee.
Winners of the Family Friendly Employer Awards 2015 are:
Public Sector Organisation of the Year – Queen’s University Belfast
A forward-thinking organisation, the judges felt that Queen’s University is innovative in their approach to family friendly practices. Queen’s were one of the only entries to use social media to promote and implement their abundance of family friendly policies, including the provision of crèche facilities for their employees.
Queen’s have demonstrated dedication to staff through the introduction of a new website for international staff members; helping signpost them to find new homes and schools. They demonstrated evidence of thinking ahead to see what else they can provide to help maintain a satisfied workforce.
The judges felt that Queen’s tick every box and is a model of good practice.
Large Private Sector Company of the Year – Coca-Cola Hellenic
Coca-Cola resonates family friendly!
Coca-Cola Hellenic Northern Ireland provide a comprehensive range of enhanced family friendly policies which have resulted in increased engagement levels throughout the entire organisation. One of Coca-Cola Hellenic’s core values is ‘Caring for their People’ and they pride themselves on listening to employees’ feedback to develop family initiatives of worth.
As a result, a noteworthy initiative implemented earlier this year was ‘Make my life easier’ that include no meetings on Fridays and no emails after 6.30pm to encourage down time from work to spend time with family; providing a healthy work-life balance.
Micro Business of the Year – Adhaus Media
With limited resources and small in size, Adhaus Media is keen to listen to their team; as what works for the business may not always work for the individual. Adhaus’s initiatives are based around their staff and what works for them and can help the most.
They have demonstrated excellence in meeting their individual employee needs for example moving home time from 5.30pm to 5.15pm, making the commute home quicker. Allowing 15 minutes earlier is a small thing to do but makes a massive difference for parents.
Adhaus have also adopted a rotational 4pm leaving policy in July, each day except for Friday a team member gets to leave at 4pm to enjoy some quality family time as the children will be off school. In addition in December they provide each staff member a 2 hour lunch to assist with Santa shopping to avoid the frantic rush.
Small Medium Enterprise of the Year – Edwards and Co. Solicitors
Edwards and Co Solicitors do an amazing amount for their employees and it is evident that they are truly family friendly, clearly enhancing the quality of their workforce.
They offer an array of family friendly initiatives, including providing enhanced maternity/paternity packages including 100% pay for the first 6 weeks then ½ pay for the next 6 months rather than SMP; Childcare Voucher Scheme; group income protection, group death plan and their flexible leave policy which encourages staff to take as much time off as required!
They go that extra mile and care about their staff!
Education Sector Organisation of the Year – Aisling Daycare and Afterschool
Aisling Daycare is a worthy winner, demonstrating excellence in their approach to meet the needs of each of their individual employees.
They have a child focused and family ethos in values, providing a variety of initiatives including family friendly working hours, ‘come in and have a chat day’ whereby one day is set aside each term where staff are invited to come into the office and discuss any topic that is important to them including family life; providing a sense of community in addition to a staff forum to listen to all of the staff needs.
MACs Supporting Children and Young People
MACS Supporting Children and Young People has a number of established family friendly initiatives! They aim to be an organisation that wholly embraces flexible working, where it is the norm! They offer and heavily promote flexible family friendly initiatives including working from home, having business meetings in the home, compressed hours, all staff finish at 4pm on a Friday, paid time off for anti-natal appointments, bring your children to work and hosting family work events.
Action Cancer believes that their staff team is the most valuable asset to their organisation. They monitor, trial, change and keep an eye on employees’ work patterns, particularly those with families, to ensure that they maintain the right work-life balance and are happy in their work.
Action Cancer’s leadership believe in “an environment where their people are valued and where they can realise their full potential”.
Highly Commended of the Family Friendly Employer Awards 2015 are:
Micro Business of the Year – Moira Cosmetic Dental
Education Sector Organisation of the Year – Northern Regional College
Small Medium Enterprise of the Year – Total Mobile
The award winners and highly commended companies will feature in Employers For Childcare’s 2016 Calendar, which is distributed to over 2,500 companies across the UK.