Best for family support: FSCS

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme won this year’s Best for Family Support Award at the WM People Top Employer Awards. Here we look at their award-winning policies and practice.

fscs company group photo

 

“FSCS is a caring employer and is a great place to work for individuals bringing up children or caring for people.” This is just one of the quotes from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme’s People Survey 2023.

There are many more, with parents, for instance, praising how its parent mentoring scheme helps them support others in a similar position. The work it has done to support families of all shapes and sizes saw it win the Best for Family Support award at this year’s WM People Top Employer Awards.

The support starts with a generous benefits package, with many benefits being extended to include family members. Its health insurance, for instance, covers employees’ partners and children and its virtual GP service is open to employees’ children free of charge. Almost half of the organisation’s employees are registered with the Virtual GP, with 23% having used the service within the last six months. FSCS is currently working to raise more awareness of this benefit – particularly in terms of what it can offer outside of those more urgent or acute situations. For example, employees can access lifestyle and nutrition coaching through the app, or physiotherapy support.

FSCS also has an Employee Assistance Programme which offers specific resources and advice for families, including those caring for elderly relatives or children with disabilities.

Policies

In terms of policies, FSCS has created an overarching Family Leave Policy which covers dependants leave [paid dependants’ leave was increased from five to 20 days in 2020 and 31% of employees took it in 2023/24], maternity and paternity leave, adoption leave, parental leave and shared parental leave. Introduced in 2019, it offered 20 weeks fully paid leave to parents, which was subsequently increased to up to 26 weeks. This is irrespective of gender, sex, or how their child became part of their family. In 2019 FSCS also extended maternity leave for mothers who give birth prematurely (before 37 weeks), paying the extended leave at full pay. Parental leave has been a day one benefit since 2021, with employees entitled to this from when they first join the organisation.  

Karina Olver, People Experience Partner, says: “We are incredibly proud that the majority of our new fathers have felt empowered to take the full 26 weeks paid leave. A few, for personal reasons, have chosen to take slightly less, but 100% of our new dads, across a range of roles and seniorities, have made use of our enhanced paternity leave by taking more than the statutory entitlement.”

FSCS also wants to ensure that employees feel supported on their return to work from leave. In 2023, 13 of its employees completed training to become new parent mentors. It worked with The Parent Mentor and DaddiLife for this training and mentors developed skills to enable them to support expectant and new parents across the organisation. 

FSCS also recognises the pain of pregnancy loss and signed the Miscarriage Association’s Pregnancy Loss Pledge in 2021, sharing resources that managers can access on how to support somebody experiencing this, and offering two weeks paid bereavement leave for employees experiencing baby loss.

A flexible culture

All of this support is underpinned by a flexible culture. All roles have been offered on a flexible basis since 2016 and this is specifically mentioned in job advertisements and in discussions with all candidates through its recruitment partner. FSCS says flexibility is at the centre of every job. As such, it has removed core working hours and offers varied working weeks, ranging from compressed hours to a nine-day fortnight. Meeting rooms are

all equipped with video-conferencing technology, enabling participation for hybrid or remote employees. The days and times of events are varied so everyone gets an opportunity to be involved.  The messages about flexible working are regularly reinforced, using the tagline Your Day, Your Way, and senior leaders are encouraged to act as role models.

All of FSCS’ family support policies are promoted through a weekly company internal comms bulletin as well as through well-signposted resources on its intranet. It also regularly shares wellbeing-focused information as part of events, all-staff sessions and messaging from senior leaders. 

Caring responsibilities

When it comes to carers, who might not always recognise themselves as such, it recognises that caring responsibilities often change throughout people’s lives and explains this in its messaging. Employees can choose to update their personal information in the organisation’s HR system to inform them of any changes with regard to caring responsibilities so that support and advice can be directed to them. 

It also works with partners such as Carers UK who run yearly ‘lunch and learn’ sessions to which all employees are invited. FSCS is a member of Employers for Carers (EfC) and is part of their Employers for Carers forum. Through working with Employers for Carers, FSCS benefits from best-in-class knowledge and resources to create an environment which supports those with caring responsibilities.

Olver says that FSCS is always looking to keep up to date with the best support available. Many of its current policies have been boosted or adapted since the pandemic. Olver says that Covid showed clearly the need for a family-friendly approach. She adds: “The pandemic was an opportunity to fully assess and consider how we support our colleagues and, as a result, we acknowledged a need for our colleagues to have greater flexibility. This included increasing dependants leave from 5 to 20 days per year, removing core working hours, and actively encouraging and empowering employees to structure their days and weeks as best works for them.

“While several of our family-focused policies were first introduced during the pandemic, they have stayed in place as we recognise the benefits for our people and our organisation go far beyond this.”

*FSCS features in the WM People Best Practice Report 2024. More information here.



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