The London School of Economics and Political Science speaks about its award-winning policies for dads.
LSE believes it has created a good culture for dads – something which is backed up by the fact that it won the Workingmums.co.uk Best for Dads Award for four years running. The award recognises employers with outstanding policies and practice for dads.
LSE’s supportive culture for dads is reflected in the take-up it has had of Shared Parental Leave [SPL], for instance, which is linked to its enhanced Shared Parental Pay policy which offers parents 16 weeks on full pay, a culture which supports dads and mums and its research leave policy for academics. Its approach to SPL built on its progressive policy towards Additional Paternity Leave with 16 of the 26 weeks being offered on full pay.
LSE’s research leave policy put it ahead of other higher education institutions in recognising the career penalty faced by those who take extended breaks. It allows any academic who has been absent for 18 weeks or more a teaching-free term on full pay to catch up on research. Most returning parents can opt for a phased return to work using their accrued annual leave. The Research Leave document says: ‘The purpose of research leave is for Academic Staff members to re-establish their research trajectory following a long period of absence.’
LSE has also offered a series of workshops for parents and carers and their partners, whether or not they work for LSE. These include workshops for new dads, which offer advice on how to request flexible working. They came out of a benchmarking exercise with Working Families a few years ago. It found that LSE offered a lot of support to mums, but not so much to dads. The workshops for new dads were so successful that mums asked for similar workshops. LSE now offers advice sessions on everything from parenting primary school-aged children to parenting teenagers.
The workshops grew organically based on feedback from employees – through staff surveys and employee network groups – and discussion at regular brainstorming sessions of the LSE’s HR steering group.
LSE has also set up a New Parents and Parents-to-be network with the aim of offering support over an 18-month period beginning before parenthood starts. Members are offered mentors who can supply the benefit of their own experience of managing work and home.
LSE was also involved in research which spun out of the 2012 Happy Homes, Productive Workplaces report conducted by Working Families and OnePlusOne and its follow-up on addressing the employee life cycle. The project focused on how organisations which promote family friendly policies aimed at lessening stress can reap the rewards in terms of increased commitment and productivity. LSE is interested in how relationship quality can have a positive impact on productivity and the workplace.