Global software organisation Iress has launched a new fully paid starting school leave entitlement for its 1,800 global employees, to enable working parents to better support children starting primary school.
The new leave entitlement, which was implemented in September 2018 across all global operating sites, will allow all parents at the organisation who have a child starting primary school to take up to eight and a half additional days off work at full pay during their child’s first school term.
Julia McNeill (pictured), group executive of people at Iress, said: “We want to ensure Iress is an inclusive workplace where people feel supported to be their best both at work and at home. Children starting primary school is an important milestone for any family and we wanted to make the transition easier for the parents that work at Iress. As far as we’re aware, we’re the only [organisation] offering such a generous amount of leave at full pay to help parents out at this crucial time.”
The benefit was originally proposed in 2017, but this iteration had less flexibility around how and when employees could take the starting school leave. At its launch this month, the family-friendly leave will now enable working parents to take the extra days off work as and when they need to, within their child’s first term at primary school.
The starting school leave entitlement was launched to employees via a global internal email announcement, and communicated to staff at an all-employee quarterly briefing session.
This will form part of Iress’ existing family-friendly benefits portfolio, which includes enhanced paid parental leave for up to 26 weeks for primary carers and up to six weeks for secondary carers, with the first four weeks of both arrangements taken at full pay. Employees are also able to utilise a flexible return-to-work option, which allows them to work part-time for the first four weeks back at work after having a child, while still receiving their full-time wage.
In the UK, Iress has just under 650 employees across office sites in Cheltenham, Leatherhead, London and Warwick.
McNeill added: “Our regular employee engagement shows that family-friendly benefits are amongst the most highly valued by our people and so we wanted to provide remarkable benefits that would truly make a difference to people’s daily lives.”