Credit Suisse is to roll out a programme allowing nannies to accompany employees travelling on business trips with infants. From January 2016, the bank will pay for nannies’ travel and subsistence costs.
The organisation will also extend its paid parental leave policy from 12 weeks to 20 weeks for its 8,500 US employees. It will offer the additional eight weeks in a bid to attract and retain top talent.
The policy applies to hourly and salaried employees who work at least 20 hours a week and are primary caregivers. The leave can be taken at any time in the 12 months following a baby’s birth.
Elizabeth Donnelly, head of benefits for the Americas at Credit Suisse, said: “We recognise that some women must travel as part of their jobs at the bank. We are happy to pay for nannies to accompany these women on business trips during the first year of the child’s life.”
Sarah-Jane Butler, director and founder of Parental Choice, added: “It is easy to underestimate the positive impact supporting working parents can have.
“There is no need for large expensive tick-box gestures; rather understanding the particular stresses and pressure points that affect employees with children, such as travelling with infants or finding the right childcare, can generate a huge amount of goodwill and loyalty. A little goes a long way.”
Denise Keating, chief executive at the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI), said: “Business travel can be a huge barrier for working parents, especially women as they take on the majority of childcare commitments. Employers who recognise these commitments and are able to take an active role in supporting their employees will benefit by retaining the huge number of very able women who are forced to make choices about their employment due to the need to prioritise their children.”
However, such initiatives should form part of a wider culture of support, including flexible working arrangements. Employers must also ensure that unconscious bias against parents is not at work when assigning projects and promotions, said Keating.
She added: “There is a huge opportunity for UK employers to do much more around retaining parents in the workplace. The ‘super-mum’ is something that very few mothers can realistically achieve, but they still want to have successful and fulfilling careers.”