family policies

The 2021 All In Census shed light upon key issues within our industry that need to be addressed; one shocking statistic being that 53% of women who took parental leave felt it disadvantaged their career within media.

A commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion is at the core of Total Media’s culture, work, and success and in 2022 we kicked off the year’s DEI strategy by launching our new enhanced family friendly policies to help tackle this problem.

Alongside our existing enhanced paternity pay and our industry leading maternity & adoption policy (employees with 2+ years’ service receive 12 weeks full pay + 14 weeks half pay on leave), we brought in three key new policies:

Enhanced Shared Parental Leave

In 2015, Shared Parental Leave (SPL) was introduced into workplace policy to provide a more flexible alternative to the typical maternity or paternity leave, allowing parents to share the experiences and responsibilities of childcare. A progressive idea, the leave promised to provide better role modelling equity in the home, as well as equalising absence and opportunity in the workplace. However, this seemingly perfect model for parental leave is rarely taken up, with less than just 2% uptake of SPL in the UK. A largely contributing factor for this low uptake is that without pay enhancement from employers, it’s not feasible for most parents to take this leave whilst just receiving statutory pay and only 48% of UK employers offer any enhancement. SPL is then reduced to being a lovely idea, but not practical for the majority.

To tackle this challenge, from January 2022 we are offering all eligible employees 12 weeks paid Shared Parental Leave.

Miscarriage Policy

Between 10-20% of known pregnancies sadly end in miscarriage, and there is currently no law that employers must pay employees when taking time off following a miscarriage. Whilst we cannot detract from the physical and emotional challenges facing those who suffer a miscarriage, we can still do our small bit in ensuring our people receive both wellbeing and financial support.

Therefore, from January 2022 we have introduced miscarriage leave at full pay for both mother and partner, regardless of pregnancy term. We are also facilitating training for all Team Heads on ‘managing life events’, focusing on supporting employees through maternity, paternity, child loss and more unexpected life turns.

Child Bereavement Leave

In 2020, the UK was the first country to introduce ‘Jack’s Law’ – a legal right to paid time off for any working parent should they suffer the tragic loss of a child. Whilst this law is a positive step in supporting employees through life traumas and was the first of a raft of new employment reforms to make the UK a better place to work, it has limitations. Jack’s Law only provides grieving parents with 2 weeks statutory pay and only covers parents who have lost a child under the age of 18.

At Total Media we want to do more than that, and so from January 2022, all employees, regardless of length of service or age of child, will be offered child bereavement leave at full pay plus wellbeing support.

We hope that by adopting these enhanced family friendly policies, we can support our people in the times they need it most and can continue to foster a culture of inclusivity in which everyone feels respected, valued, and cared for.

Kitty Munro - People & Culture Senior Advisor

Author:Kitty Munro - People & Culture Senior Advisor