Coventry Building Society offers extensive eldercare support to staff

Coventry Building Society has formally recognised the needs of employees with caring responsibilities since 2017, when it introduced its Carers Flexibility scheme offering three days’ paid leave. Over the last few years, as well as topping this up with a further two days’ unpaid leave, it has enhanced the range of support it offers to its working carers.

As well as an employee assistance programme to help with both the practical and emotional aspects of caring, it also offers a specialist service, Care Concierge, through Legal and General. This gives employees access to later life care experts who can help them understand their options and answer any questions they might have.

The Coventry, which has just over 3,000 employees, also recognises the importance of flexibility when someone is trying to juggle work and care. It updated its flexible-working policy in 2023, going beyond the legal requirements that came in earlier this year. Gemma Unwin, senior colleague experience specialist at Coventry Building Society, explains: “As long as it’s possible and it doesn’t affect their contractual hours, we’re happy for employees to flex their hours however they like. This could be on a temporary basis or something more permanent.”

An expanded approach to compassionate leave can also help those looking after older relatives. This lets employees take up to a week’s leave if someone is critically ill, with line managers empowered to give further unpaid leave where needed.

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Further support is available through its Carers Network, which is led by three of the Coventry’s employees and has 50 members. “It’s a safe space to share information, resources and support,” adds Unwin. “It can be so helpful to speak to colleagues who are going through a similar experience.”

As there are so many elements to the caring benefits it provides, the society has created a Carers Hub to ensure everyone can access all the support that is relevant to them. The response from employees has been very positive, says Unwin. “We ran a pulse survey recently and the carers’ benefits received great feedback. One employee said they’d been really helpful when they had to care for their mum and dad.”