French bank BNP Paribas offers a comprehensive emergency childcare scheme to all its 3,500 staff, most of whom work in London.
The scheme covers any sort of disruption to normal childcare arrangements and employees have access to up to 10 days of care each year, booked a maximum of two weeks in advance. All costs are met by the employer, including any tax charges.
The scheme, which includes nurseries, play schemes and in-home care, was introduced in 2011 and has proved very popular, says BNP Paribas benefits manager Thomas Hiles. “We see it as an extremely valuable addition to our benefits package and an acknowledgement of the changing world we live in, with escalating childcare costs, the need to balance family and work life and remain active in the job market,” he says.
Hiles believes that, when it comes to establishing a return on investment in emergency childcare, there is a strong argument for minimising disruption to the business and preventing time out of the office. “It should be positioned as an ‘emergency’ benefit rather than an expenses scheme and should always offer quality support in finding appropriate care and help employees and their families through a difficult time,” he says.