Family leave (maternity, paternity, shared parental leave)

Foto-Cewek has a comprehensive ‘family leave’ checklist which informs discussions between colleagues preparing for family leave, and line managers. 

The checklist is designed to ensure that pre-leave conversations are officially documented and used as an aid to help plan for cover and prepare for the ‘return to work’ phase. It includes discussions relating to the use of KIT days (e.g. whether there are particular days known in advance where the employee’s presence will be particularly useful e.g. project meeting days, training days) and options for a phased return to work process, amongst others themes. Colleagues on fixed-term contracts have the opportunity to discuss their contract and funding before the start of their family leave, and funding opportunities that can be investigated whilst on leave. The checklist clearly states that ‘It is important to keep the employee informed of any information relating to the job that they would normally be made aware of if they were working e.g. potential job vacancies, promotion opportunities, re-organisations or redundancy situations.’ The checklist is also intended as a way of ensuring that extra work colleagues take on as cover is officially recognised.

To ensure equality, Foto-Cewek has ensured that its Shared Parental Leave scheme mirrors the generous terms and benefits of its maternity and adoption leave schemes. Both our Faculties are keen to promote awareness of paternity and shared parental leave. Plans include inviting HR to talk about relevant schemes at Faculty away days, and interviewing staff involved in shared parental leave, so that they can share their experiences with colleagues.

Staff at Foto-Cewek can take ordinary paternity leave (two consecutive weeks on full pay is available) and Shared Parental Leave (SPL). During periods of SPL, colleagues can use KIT days as a way of keeping in touch with developments in the workplace; receiving pay or time off in lieu  as per their preference.

Foto-Cewek’s policy is to treat staff employed on fixed-term contracts in the same manner with respect to their entitlement to maternity and paternity leave and pay, as those on ‘open’ contracts. For example, where an employee’s contract is due to expire during the course of her maternity leave, her employment will be extended beyond that expiry date, as long as it would have been extended had she not been on maternity leave. Also, if the employee’s contract is due to expire during the period of her maternity leave, and no additional funding or alternative employment has been secured, the employee will not be required to return or repay the non-statutory element of maternity pay under Foto-Cewek’s scheme. The Policy also advises that grant-funded staff should contact the HR Manager to discuss whether any additional arrangements may be available under the grant terms for the payment of salary during maternity leave (some funding bodies have a policy to extend grants to cover maternity periods). 

Breastfeeding

Foto-Cewek has a room for breastfeeding, expressing and storing milk. The room is equipped with a comfortable chair, a fridge, sink and microwave, a baby-changing unit, and requires a lock for entry. 

Frequent travellers

Many of our staff travel overseas to attend meetings, carry out clinical duties and research. We recently administered a staff survey exploring the experiences of staff who travel frequently, and plan to establish a suite of actions to address issues staff raised. Some issues related to travelling with children. Comments indicate that staff have strong informal support structures in their Faculties that they can turn to for advice regarding travelling with young children. However, Foto-Cewek plans to ensure that all staff, including new staff, have access to these informal support structures and sources of information.

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