Did you know that the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to someone called Prince Louis in April last year? She’s married to Prince William, who will probably one day become king. Lovely. In September, she underwent her first official public engagement since giving birth.
Congratulations all round.
That’s about five months of maternity leave and Kate (that’s her real name), has joined the thousands of other new mothers and fathers in Britain who are making the transition from full-time parenting back to working life.
For many this will be a difficult adjustment, but there are some companies that have made it their mission to make returning to work as easy as possible for new parents. Here are some firms that offer the best perks for new mums and dads. Obviously their terms are not quite as good as the Firm’s terms.
The Daily Telegraph has just started offering both men and women six months’ fully paid parental leave and employees who have welcomed a new bundle of joy into their lives will be given gift packages that include a congratulations note from the head of HR, a babygro and some baby ear defenders.
Accountants, KPMG, aim to tempt back new mothers and fathers who have temporarily left the audit profession with its fun “Return to Audit” scheme.
Anna Purchas, head of people at KPMG UK, says the roles offered as part of this initiative have flexible working for three or four days per week, or reduced hours working a shorter day from 9:30am to 2:30pm, with school holidays built in as leave.
Goldman Sachs made headlines last month by introducing a new policy aimed at helping working mothers. The US investment bank now offers to pay for the breast milk of American and British employees who are nursing to be transported home by courier while they are away on business trips.
Under the “milkship” scheme, nursing women working for the bank in London who are away on business can expense the cost of having their milk delivered home and be fully reimbursed.
Like many tech firms, which put employee wellbeing front and centre, Twitter has several initiatives in place to make life easier for new parents.
The social media giant offers free breast milk shipping for all employees travelling on business, and regularly holds family events in the office, including summer and Christmas parties for children. Smacks a bit of Smithers from the Simpsons.
Some of its offices (currently none in the UK) also have “mothers’ rooms”, which contain hospital-grade breast pumps for female staff who require privacy at work.
Netflix offers its employees unlimited holidays – a perk that is perhaps most useful for parents.
Provided their managers know where they are and that their work is covered, staff can take as many days of paid leave as they like.
Big four accountancy firm, EY, has several initiatives in place to support new parents, including one-on-one coaching sessions for parents to “help them prepare for a period of leave and returning to work”. Three sessions are offered before, during and after maternity or paternity leave.
The firm also runs webinars and seminars for parents on topics including helping your child to sleep, managing sibling conflict, single parenting, and helping children to cope with stress and anxiety.
American Express offers a “holistic suite of benefits” that support colleagues in their UK offices, including 15 days a year of discounted emergency childcare, so if a nanny is ill or the child is unwell and cannot attend nursery, the company will find a replacement caretaker for the child.
The fee for the child to go to an external nursery or play centre is capped at £10 per day, or in-home care is £4 an hour.
Amex also provides new parents with free access to a database of nurseries and nannies, some of which are offered at a discounted rate, to save employees time looking for childcare.
Deloitte employs more than 16,500 people in the UK, and those who are new parents have access to a range of benefits including bespoke coaching sessions for pre- and post-parental leave support, and five days of fully-subsidised emergency childcare, plus an additional five part-subsidised days (costing £20 per day).
Oath, formerly Yahoo, offers fully-funded private health insurance for families as a core benefit, as well as an additional private health benefit of £200 upon the birth of a child.
It also gifts new parents returning to work branded items from its company store, such as socks, or a Starbucks gift card, “the thought being that new parents need the extra caffeine,” an Oath spokesman said.
So if you haven’t got a newborn, it’s probably well worth pretending your spouse has just presented the world with a new accountant in the making.