Law firm Sackers has received external recognition for its dedication to forging a family-friendly work environment, scooping the Best for all stages of motherhood award at the Working Families Awards 2016. Using the statutory requirements as a base-level guideline when it comes to benefits and support, the firm has endeavoured to provide a range of options to help support and retain working mothers and fathers.
As well as enhanced maternity, paternity and shared parental leave, the organisation, which has around 100 employees, provides expectant staff with a resource pack with information on maternity policies, as well as practical details on how to manage pregnancy. There is also further information about giving birth, health and nutrition during pregnancy, childcare options and childcare vouchers. Julia Perrin, director at Sackers, says: “There’s a little book that we put in there that has top tips for working parents, which I think people find quite helpful.”
For lawyers at the firm, Sackers provides an external coaching programme that supports mothers-to-be at every phase of pregnancy. This is supplemented with an internal mentoring scheme where new mums are paired with partners within the organisation who have been through maternity leave and returning to work themselves. “[The partners] can be a sounding board and provide support and guidance on things that they found helpful,” says Perrin.
As well as liaising with external networks, such as the City Fathers Network, Sackers also hosts webinars on every aspect of parenting life, covering topics such as choosing childcare, tackling working parent guilt, keeping children safe on the internet and how to choose secondary schools.
Flexible working is also a key initiative at Sackers, with 30% of employees utilising this arrangement to improve their work-life balance. This includes staff at senior levels.
Perrin adds: “I think it really boils down to recognising family life is important and it’s really about providing a working culture that allows people to juggle work and home. In the last five years, all of the lawyers who have taken maternity leave have come back to work, which is good.”