The Story HSBC has expanded its family-friendly policies to offer all employees nursery care and childcare vouchers for children up to 16. The high street bank has increased the number of workplace nurseries it provides from 80 to around 170 and is offering all 57,000 employees, including staff at online banking service First Direct, the chance to take childcare vouchers through a salary sacrifice scheme.
The Response Sue Jex, head of employee support at HSBC, said that it introduced the benefit following the change in childcare legislation brought in last month. She added that the expanded offering should give it an advantage over other financial services firms in ensuring women return to work after they have had a child.
Currently 80% of females at the bank return to work following maternity leave, compared with the FTSE 100 average of 50% of returning mothers. However, trades union Amicus believed that the timing of this launch was more cynical.
Amicus officer Ciaran Nairdoo said that it welcomed the introduction of any such benefit, but felt that by launching the plan while the bank was in the middle of a pay dispute, staff might be mislead into thinking it equated to a pay rise. He added that it seemed like a public relations push to show people that it’s "not the world’s stingiest bank".