Employee Benefits Awards 2011: Most effective benefits strategy for working parents or carers


University of Lincoln, UOL Total Reward and Wellbeing

The clear winner in this category, this entrant proved that public sector funding is not an obstacle to offering a wide scope of benefits to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

The diverse workforce at the University of Lincoln includes a number of people with demanding home responsibilities. With a simple strategy to offer as much as it could, the university’s benefits for working parents and carers encompasses a wide variety of family-friendly policies within the workplace, a benefits programme that allows the opportunity to enjoy events outside the workplace, such as visits to theme parks and zoos, and family-friendly amendments to the campus.

The university offers an internal portal for carers that is built around its carers’ networking group. It has also developed a staff suggestion scheme and a line of questioning within its staff survey to find out how employees feel about their work-life balance.

In 2010, the University of Lincoln forged a relationship with Lincoln City football club that has allowed families to enjoy a reduced family ticket rate and also includes special Saturday family training sessions at the football ground. The nature of the university’s infrastructure allows it to give something back to employees’ families through its sports facilities, library and performing arts centre.

It has also integrated its relationships with local businesses into its scheme. Guest speakers come in to tell staff about the local support networks and benefit entitlements that are on their doorstep. This is enhanced with an affiliation to the Lincolnshire Carers Group. The results reflect the success of the UOL Total Reward and Wellbeing scheme. The university recorded that 92% of its 2,000 staff feel supported by a healthy work-life balance.

Its childcare voucher turnover came in at £110,000 a year and it has recorded a 15% increase year on year in requests for flexible working.

Overall, the University of Lincoln has had well-attended events for its family fun days, family performances at the arts centre and a positive take-up of staff benefits.


Bradford and Airedale Health Authorities, Childcare Support Service
Some 15,000 staff are offered two on-site nurseries, discounted childcare, childcare vouchers, maternity/paternity and adoption leave, a keep-intouch scheme during maternity leave, one-on-one childcare advice, and a childminding scheme. Return-to-work levels have risen over a four-year period, from 75% in 2005 to almost 90% in 2009.

Ministry of Justice and National Offender Management Service entered by Edenred
These two parts of the same government department unified their childcare voucher strategy in 2010. The scheme has reached an all-time high take-up of 1,200 staff. The two bodies estimate reduced NI contributions are worth £300,000 a year. The judges were impressed that they made full use of HR business partners for communication.

Procter and Gamble, Vibrant Living (P&G Work/Life Effectiveness programme) – Dad’s Network entered by My Family Care
The judges were impressed with the range of benefits in this entrant’s strategy, particularly the focus on its father population. The firm has added a Dad’s button to its website and targeted working fathers with short training sessions, engaging them with its family-friendly policies and benefits.

Workplace Options
The judges thought this entrant’s concentration on working parents was significant considering it employs only 305 staff. With a further focus on mothers, it provides support resources, designated parking spots, additional maternity leave, and flexible working and childcare on return to work.

Read more about the Award winners