The Bank of Ireland has introduced a family benefits package that aims to address a wide range of personal scenarios and challenges for its 9,000 members of staff across the UK, Ireland, EU and US.
Employees in the Republic of Ireland and UK have been given the opportunity to top up their parental leave by six weeks over the first two years. When added to the bank’s existing paternity leave entitlement, this provides partners with up to 13 weeks of paid leave.
The Bank of Ireland also introduced foster care leave, early pregnancy loss leave for babies under 24 weeks of gestation, 10 days of fertility leave, and has formalised its surrogacy leave to match existing adoptive leave entitlements. The bank has also added extended breastfeeding break entitlements for staff with children up to two years old. .
According to the bank, the benefits, dubbed ‘Family Matters’, were introduced in order to create a more inclusive approach which supported employees across various life stages. The policies were introduced as day-one entitlements.
The bank also launched a Family Matters Handbook illustrating all key supports and benefits available. Employees in need of support are able to contact managers confidentially, access the Family Matters Hub or wellbeing app, or use the bank’s employee assistance programme (EAP).
Myles O’Grady, group CEO at the Bank of Ireland, said: “As one of the largest employers in Ireland, we want to build a progressive workplace and contribute to a progressive society. This is also important for our business which competes hard to attract and retain the talent we need to serve our customers, support growing businesses, and also grow as a company.”
“We constantly challenge ourselves to foster a work environment where colleagues are treated with fairness and flexibility. There is no one-size-fits-all for families, so our people policies aim to support a range of scenarios, including when colleagues face very challenging circumstances.
The introduction followed a review of all existing HR policies to identify what would best support employees. Prior to this, the employer introduced other policies including menopause leave and a dedicated domestic abuse policy.
O’Grady said: “Family Matters is the culmination of a number of significant policy improvements we have implemented to ensure a supportive and inclusive culture for all colleagues. A key part of this is supporting colleagues throughout their careers and the milestones in their lives, like becoming a parent or a carer. Our new and enhanced policies will have a positive impact on both the personal and financial wellbeing of our 9,000 colleagues and their families.”
Support for staff experiencing abuse, introduced in May, includes help with emergency accommodation, training for employees on how to spot abuse, flexible working policies and salary advances.
Matt Elliott, chief people officer at the Bank of Ireland, said: “At Bank of Ireland, we are committed to creating a culture and work environment that is safe and supportive for all colleagues.”
He added: “The Bank is committed to supporting all of our colleagues, taking into account the individuals’ unique circumstances and challenges they face.”