Fujitsu launches leave policy for carers

EXCLUSIVE: Fujitsu UK and Ireland has introduced a policy that enables employees to take up to four weeks unpaid leave to manage their caring responsibilities.

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David Brackwell, head of wellbeing and inclusion, UK and Ireland at Fujitsu, said: “One thing that is becoming an increasing challenge for people is caring responsibilities. People are often presented with childcare and eldercare problems, and it becomes a real issue.”

The policy, which is available to the organisation’s 10,100 UK and Ireland-based staff, is based on managers’ discretion.

Sandra Kemp, employment team manager, UK and Ireland at Fujitsu, added: “We expect, for most cases, one or two days would be sufficient to deal with the emergency, but managers can use their discretion to provide more. 

“There is no automatic right to pay for this time and, when deciding this, managers will take into consideration the length of leave required, the nature of the incident, the number and type of previous applications from the individual, length of service, [and so on].”

The policy was developed after a series of employee surveys and focus groups in 2013, which flagged up that it would be relevant to Fujitsu’s employees.

“We have some really good examples of where people have caring responsibilities, and where management has, in a common-sense way, been able to marry the needs of the business with the needs of the individual,” said Brackwell.

“Predominantly, we’re talking about flexible working, which can be from home or could be in terms of hours.”

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Fujitsu launched the policy in March with a webinar, which was open to all employees. It has also briefed managers and published a news story on its intranet site.

Brackwell added: “We are trying to promote awareness of the opportunity as well. It’s one thing having a policy, but if it sits on a shelf it is of limited value.”