Centrica to launch network for working fathers


EXCLUSIVE: Centrica is setting up a social dads network for its working fathers following a review into updating the organisation’s family-friendly policies.

The energy organisation, which owns British Gas, decided to implement such a programme on the back of the shared parental leave legislation which comes into force in December.

As a result of the incoming changes, the organisation wanted to update its maternity, paternity and adoption policies. It also wanted to give managers more information on employees’ needs.

Alison Hughes, head of HR policy and diversity at Centrica, said: “We saw this as an opportunity to review what we were doing in the family-friendly space.

“We have had successful policies and practices in place for some time but were conscious from feedback that we would like to update [these].”

The dads network, which Centrica plans to implement this year, is aimed at providing support to working fathers. It will be run by a number of employees to provide useful information on issues such as shared parental leave.

Centrica will initially launch the network via its internal social media site, Yammer, with the view to offering working fathers the use of an online portal.

The organisation is also looking at introducing paid antenatal appointments.

Over the past two years, Centrica has focused on increasing female representation within its workforce, which has caused it to lose focus on actively caring for working fathers, which is a further driver behind the introduction of the new network.  

Hughes added: “It is something that, as an organisation, we have been conscious of in the last year or so, because most, if not all, of our focus has been on improving female representation in the organisation. 

“It is a heavily male-dominated workforce in certain parts of the business, mainly due to our history, and we wanted to actively focus on them.

“The support will come from two angles and it is good from a business point of view. We know we need to provide further support. It is a way of providing more benefits to our workforce and working fathers.”

In June, the organisation was recognised for its family-friendly policies at the 2014 Top Employers for Working Families Special Awards.